The Parkway Council, a not-for-profit organization, works to accelerate the transformation of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway into a great urban park for all.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the partially-realized result of bold thinking a century ago. Inspired by the City Beautiful movement, Philadelphians in the early 20th century envisioned a post-industrial city transformed into a beautiful and inspiring stage for human life. This ambitious approach to citymaking led to the creation of the Parkway, an iconic public space and centerpiece of a district that is home to many of Philadelphia’s leading cultural institutions. However, a century later, the Parkway is not living up to its potential; it is currently under-utilized as a public park, perceived as unwelcoming by many, and, at times, oddly disconnected from the city’s daily life. Today, it is time to unlock the Parkway’s potential to be a shared space and locus of activity contributing to a more inclusive and vibrant city.
The Parkway Council envisions a great, city-scale public park, running from City Hall to Boathouse Row, which connects Philadelphia’s greatest cultural district (the Parkway Museums District), stretching from the Schuylkill River east to Broad Street, and from Market Street north to Fairmount.
For many years the Parkway Council was a not-for-profit member organization of institutions and businesses that convened to collaborate and protect their mutual interests in the Parkway. In 2020, the Council adopted a new mission and purpose and now works to champion this vision of the Parkway as a great urban park for all. While the Council continues to convene the cultural and educational institutions, residences, businesses, and community groups along and near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, all are invited to join the Council’s efforts to improve this great public space.
The Council currently focuses its work on:
Creating a plan that will identify design proposals for a more functional, appealing, beautiful, and people-centric Parkway;
Building a coalition that will help realize these plans;
Enhancing the Parkway’s management, while identifying long-term models for its stewardship; and
Introducing new users to the Parkway through programming, other activations, and outreach.