A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Love Park

Philadelphia

PA

USA

Contributed by 
michelle smith
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
September 11, 2003
December 14, 2017

Love Park was once a national destination for skateboarders, before the city started confiscating skate boards and shooing away anyone who is not sitting quietly on a bench.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Love Park (officially Kennedy Plaza) is located at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is headed by the Philadelphia Art Museum. It has never been an especially attractive park, but was known for its "love" statue and fountain. In recent years Love Park gained national notoriety as an excellent place to skateboard and was even featured in many a video game. Unfortunately, the powers that be decided to put an end to any kind of fun in the park. Park rangers patrolled the park and confiscated boards. Ultimately, the park received what was billed as a "facelift." Benches and ugly pink planters were placed throughout the park to ruin the clean sharp edges that drew skateboarders to the park. The City has also decided that sitting quietly will be the only permitted use of the park. Philadelphia police officers patrol the park and shoo away anyone who is not sitting on a bench. Sitting on ledges is no longer permitted. And kite fliers have been sent packing as well.

Access & Linkages

Access is what makes this park such an amenity. It is located in the heart of the central business district, in close proximity to numerous transit stops and stations. Its notoriety as a skateboard mecca drew youth from beyond the city limits.

Comfort & Image

The "improvements" have ruined the park as a comfortable place. The park was never particularly attractive, but it was a nice place to people watch - and skateboarder watch - as local workers ate their lunches. The uncomfortable benches, ugly pink planters and constant police presence make users feel on edge.

Uses & Activities

Use is now limited to sitting quietly on a designated bench. Police shoo away those who sit on ledges and those who try to fly kites.

Sociability

Two person benches are not amenable to larger groups who meet at lunchtime.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Love Park
Image © Sylvia Schulze
Love Park
Love Park
Love Park
Love Park
Love Park
Love Park
Love Park

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

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A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET