Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Student Competition Pauses for 2021 for Strategic Evaluation

October 27, 2021 | Press Releases, Center News
How Can Competition Center Community Voices and Perspectives?
The Center for Architecture and Design has hosted the Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Competition (formerly the Better Philadelphia Challenge) for 15 years.  Founded in 2006 in memory of Philadelphia’s iconic 20th century city planner, Edmund N. Bacon [1910-2005], this annual program honors both professionals and students whose work epitomize excellence in urban design.

The Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Committee has decided to pause the student competition for 2021, while still giving a 2022 Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award to a professional. The announcement of the honoree is forthcoming as well as the date of the award ceremony in February 2022. 

“The Committee has decided to pause the competition this year for some strategic thinking about how we can best honor the legacy of Ed Bacon’s Better Philadelphia Exhibition and programming, as well as create an opportunity and experience for students participating that would further best practices in community engagement and design practices centered on community voices and perspectives.” says Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of Center for Architecture and Design.

Committee Co-Chair Nate Hommel continues, “Every year we pick a site or area in the City to focus our competition, and over the years we have had tremendous partnerships with local organizations around the site or community. The Bacon Competition is at its heart an ideas competition – and many of students’ ideas over the years have sparked different conversations and spurred other ideas from community members. Recently, however we have been hearing from community groups and advocates across the city, that communities have planning fatigue; and in addition, with all this planning going on, community groups still feel ignored and disconnected from the process of how their neighborhoods are planned, designed, and built.”

 “We are taking this feedback seriously and think that it is an appropriate time to clarify our goals and values, as we rethink and redesign this competition.  We believe that this competition focuses on supporting future urban designers and the communities they will work with – therefore we want our competition to prioritize supporting students and community; because that is how we celebrate the legacy of Ed Bacon – designing a better Philadelphia for everyone.” shares Johnson.  

The revised Edmund N. Bacon Student Design Competition will be announced in April 2022. Stay tuned for details on the 2022 Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award Winner to be announced soon.

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