Shiloh Baptist Church | Photo: Joseph E.B. Elliott


Hidden City seeks to inspire a sense of wonder, exploration and discovery in city and regional residents from all backgrounds; to lead them to a new and more vital relationship with Philadelphia, to understand its history, present, and future; and to connect people across diverse neighborhoods as part of a community of engaged people to solve problems related to the built environment.


Philadelphia’s dormant and hidden places become locations of increased cultural, educational, commercial, and civic activity, and contribute substantially to the development of community and the health of our neighborhoods. This impact may be indicated by such things as…

  • Derelict and under-utilized places acquire new, sustainable uses and value for their surrounding communities and neighborhoods.
  • Philadelphia stories and histories from the Industrial Revolution to the Underground Railroad engage visitors and locals alike.
  • Places such as the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Founder’s Hall, and Disston Saw Works become iconic and well-known tourism destinations for people visiting the city.
  • City residents know and take pride in the histories of their own neighborhoods, and feel comfortable exploring new places beyond established commercial or cultural centers.


  • Diversitythrough embracing and engaging with a breadth of places, histories, cultural traditions, creative practices, and viewpoints.
  • Dialogue – through fostering open and mutually respectful conversation in all processes and aspects of our work with artists and communities.
  • Pragmatism – through inspiring immediate, affordable, creative solutions for increasing the utility and value of places for the residents of our city.
  • Accessibility – through engaging in open and transparent processes, and finding clear and direct approaches to the interpretation and exploration of cultural memory.