Mondev, Teaching, and Retirement

Mondev, Teaching, and Retirement

Bacon left the Planning Commission in 1970, at the age of 60, having worked under four mayors, both Republican and Democrat. He went on to serve as Vice President for the private planning firm Mondev U.S.A., where he worked in a number of cities. During this time, he began lecturing and writing articles prolifically. He taught in several capacities at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years. He also taught as a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champlain, where he had his students design a new gateway development for the area near Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

Bacon narrated a series of city planning films in 1982-83. The Understanding Cities series includes films on the planning of Rome, Paris, London, the American Urban Experience, and the City of the Future. Bacon won numerous honors including the American Institute of Planners Distinguished Service Award and the Philadelphia Award.

Long after his retirement, Bacon continued to actively assert his vision for Philadelphia’s future. In the 1980s, Bacon opposed developer Willard Rouse over a proposed skyscraper that would break the Gentlemen’s Agreement height limit that Bacon enforced while at the Planning Commission -- where no building would exceed the buckles on the shoes of the William Penn statue atop City Hall. However, in 1985, Liberty Place broke ground, opening the floodgates for other skyscrapers to follow.

In the 1990s Bacon proposed new concepts to improve Independence Mall, Penn’s Landing, and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. These efforts included clashes with major new civic leaders, and were instigated, in part, by his desire not to see his work altered by subsequent generations. In 2002 Bacon rode a skateboard in LOVE Park, as a protest against the City’s ban of the use of the park for skateboarding. At age 92, this act re-introduced Bacon to a whole new generation.

Asked once in an interview what was his greatest achievement, Bacon answered simply, “Philadelphia.” Bacon continued to stay active and in the news, fighting for his city until the very end of his life. Bacon passed away on October 14, 2005. He is survived by his six children, six grandchildren, and one great grandchild. In September of 2006, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission honored Bacon with a State Historical Marker by LOVE Park