Public Space in Philadelphia


Address: Anywhere
Neighborhood: Any/All
Year Built: 1682
Architectural Style: All
Founded By: William Penn
Current Use:  All

Historical Background
Philadelphia was founded on October 27, 1682 by William Penn, who planned a city along the Delaware River to serve as a port and place for government. The city grew rapidly, and by the 1750s Philadelphia was the largest city and busiest port in the original 13 American colonies. During the American Revolution, Philadelphia played an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the nation’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and the Constitution on September 17, 1787. Philadelphia served as one of the nation’s many capitals during the Revolutionary War, and the city served as the temporary national capital from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D.C. was under construction. During the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and a railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants. The city’s dominant textile industry represented 40 percent of total United States output in 1906. It became a major destination for African Americans during the Great Migration and surpassed 2 million occupants by 1950.

Philadelphia has transitioned from being a manufacturing powerhouse to an information and service-based economy. Financial activities account for the largest sector of the metro economy, and it is one of the largest health education and research centers in the United States.

Some Community Stakeholders
Residents, workers, pedestrians, transportation riders, park visitors

Possible Artistic Uses & Limitations
This dossier is intended to encourage innovative projects that make use of, inhabit, hack or transform public space. Hidden City Philadelphia encourages cohesive projects that make use of public space for temporary, ephemeral, game-based or other innovative public projects. Projects could occur in a particular space or preferably connect sites from across the city included in the festival. Projects may take the form of performance, public games, a tour, radio station, walkshop, transport, street art or other forms. We are particularly interested in site-based works that reference the particular space it is located in rather than works that could be realized in any location.

Disclosure
Hidden City Philadelphia has secured provisional interest and commitment to participate from the owners or stewards of prospective sites for the 2013 festival. We cannot guarantee final festival participation for any site, as many are subject to transitional forces, such as changes in ownership or stewardship, development, hazmat remediation, public-private jurisdiction, access restrictions and, in some cases, continued physical deterioration.

With that said, we have secured interest and willingness from site owners and stewards to engage in a discovery process with artists, partner organizations, and other stakeholders concerning creative projects and public engagement. The realization of any artistic project for the festival will be the result of a collaborative process with, and eventual collective approval of, Hidden City staff, advisors, community stakeholders, and site owners.

Hidden City’s staff are facilitators and advocates with the goal of bringing about a productive and mutually satisfying relationship between artists and the other stakeholders essential to any creative process located in places where art making is not a regular activity.