Sunset Drive, South Miami before (inset) and after

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By Project for Public Spaces on Mar 29, 2013 |
Future plans for Cadillac Square call for a lively marketplace / Image: PPS


You may have heard about downtown Detroit’s big comeback story. Campus Martius has become one of America’s great urban squares. Demand for housing has outstripped supply for months. Major tech firms like Twitter are opening up offices in refurbished historic buildings. The Motor City’s historic core is ascendant.

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Neal Peirce looks at how Philadelphia has used light to help transform the image, and fortunes, of Center City.

If you haven't been to Philadelphia recently, you may not be aware that Paris might have a new rival for its famous moniker. "America’s birthplace city," says Peirce, "now shines with an ingenious mix of lights designed to please and inspire residents and visitors alike. Center-city street lights have been rescaled for pedestrians’ pleasure and safety. Buildings and statuary along the grand Benjamin Franklin Parkway, stretching from City Hall to the Philadelphia Art Museum, are bathed in carefully crafted, state-of-the-art illumination."