Why design? Pt. 2

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post ahead of our Student Design Competition introducing the importance of design. This post (read it online) serves as a follow-up examining the need for site-specific ecological design at the Urban Arboreta sites. What makes for ‘great design’? Great or successful design does not exist in isolation: Read more about Why design? Pt. 2[…]

Towards a Deeper Understanding of Urban Ecology

“The city is both an outward form – expressed as spatial pattern – of housing, factories, streets, and parks and an inward pattern of life – expressed as processes – such as cycles of nature, rhythms, of work and play, rates of travel, rules of conduct, and so forth.” – The Baltimore School of Urban Read more about Towards a Deeper Understanding of Urban Ecology[…]


The jury of Tom Dalfo of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Professor Sean Burkholder of University of Buffalo, Professor Karen M’Closkey of University of Pennsylvania, Professor Anne Spirn of MIT, and Skip Weiner of Philadelphia Urban Tree Connection met on Friday June 3 in Philadelphia to review the submissions for URBAN ARBORETA: Transforming Ground Read more about COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED[…]

Student Design Competition Update

As of the May 2nd registration deadline, 39 competitors from Canada, China, New Zealand, and the United States have registered for Urban Arboreta: transforming ground, thus making it an international student design competition.  American universities represented include Harvard University, University of Virginia, Northeastern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Philadelphia Community College, University of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Read more about Student Design Competition Update[…]

Urban Arboreta wins NEA award

More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide  – Includes award to City Parks Association to support Urban Arboreta: transforming ground Philadelphia: National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.  Included Read more about Urban Arboreta wins NEA award[…]

A Reflection on Urban Tree Campaigns

New York. Los Angeles. Miami. Denver. Around ten years ago now, each of these cities made a commitment to plant one million trees within its boundary. Mayors far and wide grabbed onto this seemingly simple solution to a myriad of health, equity, and environmental issues confronted in their cities: plant more trees. Simple enough, right? Read more about A Reflection on Urban Tree Campaigns[…]

Jurors Announced for Student Design Competition!

We are excited to announce a partial listing of jurors for the Urban Arboreta Student Design Competition: Sean Burkholder, Assistant Professor of Landscape and Urban Design at the University of Buffalo Tom Dalfo, Senior Vice President of Real Estate Services at Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation Karen M’Closkey, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University Read more about Jurors Announced for Student Design Competition![…]

Why design?

In order to preface our upcoming registration deadline (May 2, 2016) for the Urban Arboreta Student Design Competition, I thought we should emphasize the importance of design. No small task, especially for someone who wouldn’t consider himself a “designer,” for right or wrong. I go to a Design school. As an undergrad, I was a Read more about Why design?[…]

Urban Arboreta Sites: A Brief Land Use History

As a non-native of Philadelphia, I regret to say that I had largely forgotten about the city’s historical significance until moving here last fall. Sure, I associated Philadelphia with William Penn, Ben Franklin and the Liberty Bell, but much of my eighth grade American History had been lodged in the back of my mind, unstirred Read more about Urban Arboreta Sites: A Brief Land Use History[…]

Transforming Ground: Philadelphia Orchard Project

In our next series post addressing reuse of vacant land, we look to an organization that is active in our own backyard: the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP). The organization has been greening Philadelphia’s underutilized spaces while strengthening communities and improving access to fresh fruits. Since its founding ten years ago, POP has made incredible progress. Read more about Transforming Ground: Philadelphia Orchard Project[…]