Following years of contentious debate, Studio Bryan Hanes was commissioned to develop an innovative plan for the redesign of the northern portion of Clark Park.  Following a public outreach initiative, a plan was presented that addressed the community’s concerns and social values, and helped unite a fractured neighborhood. While recalling and respecting elements of the historic landscape of the park, the plan advances the community’s objective for an ecologically and socially sustainable open space.

Charged with developing an appropriate central gathering space while preserving numerous large existing trees, SBH established a central circle of stone fines. The circle allows for a variety of park uses, including large festival gatherings, markets and small congregations; while also providing a flexible gathering space for individuals. The central circle hosts iconic movable furniture that will be immediately recognizable within the neighborhood, and will help brand this focal point of the park.

The park embraces a multi-faceted approach to sustainability while integrating innovative storm water management practices. The pervious ground plane of the central gathering space blends with the surrounding landscape and accommodates storm water run-off. The plan alleviates additional storm flow to the overburdened combined sewer by receiving, cleansing and infiltrating storm run-off from the adjacent streets. The infiltration basin is accommodated below a twice-weekly farmer’s market which brings fresh, organic and locally-grown food to the community. The farmer’s market serves as a major social activity within this diverse neighborhood.

Location: Philadelphia, PA