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Martin Luther King Plaza Neighborhood Revitalization

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Funded with a 1998 HOPE VI grant, the master plan for Martin Luther King Plaza replaces a dense, high-rise public housing community with a mixed program of new neighborhood uses. New housing, in both rental and homeownership configurations, accommodating the needs of singles, families and seniors, together with new community and retail uses, are all part of the new development. Significantly, new housing is equally divided between on-site reconstruction and off-site renovation and infill. Extensive attention and resources were also devoted to strengthening resident self-sufficiency. Long term sustainability of the reconstructed project will be assured by eliminating blight and creating stability in the broader community.

One key to the on-site master plan was the creation of a new residential square founded in the tradition of neighborhood-making established by William Penn, founder of Philadelphia. This new open space will be a focus for the broader Hawthorne neighborhood and will marry new and renovated housing, retail with residential above, and a host of local institutions, including a new daycare and community center, a local church and an existing elementary school. The architecture of the new units includes a diverse set of types modeled on traditional patterns of Philadelphia neighborhoods.

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Architectural Design
Community Meetings
Comprehensive Planning
Condition Assessment Survey
Construction Phase Services
Design Charrettes
Door-to-Door Resident Surveys
Feasibility/Yield Analysis
Grading Plans
Master Planning
Public Hearing
Site Plan Approval
Sustainable Development
Urban Design


American Institute of Architects, Honor Award in Regional and Urban Design, 2006;
Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Award, 2006;
Residential Architect Design Awards, Project of the Year, 2006;
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Face of America's Public Housing Award, 2003;
Builder's Choice Award, 2007;

Project Data

6 acre site
demolition of 576 high-rise units
128 new residential units - on-site
121 new residential infill units - off-site
8,000 sf retail on/off-site
10,000 sf community center
1/2 acre park

Sustainable Design Elements:
architecture modelled after traditional Philadelphia types
residential, retail and local institutional mix of uses
reuses existing infrastructure
reconnects residents to existing neighborhood
provides range of housing options
creates new public outdoor space

Related Projects

Laurel Homes Revitalization
Salishan Neighborhood Revitalization
Flag House Courts

Project URL

Martin Luther King Plaza: A Thriving Philadelphia Neighborhood Rises from High-rise Rubble