ULI Philadelphia Blog

Bringing Better Health Outcomes to South Philadelphia

This article originally appeared in Urban Land Magazine.

Though the sustainability movement has been putting more focus on human health recently, it is less of a trend than a returning to its roots. William Penn’s “greene country towne” plan of 1683 paved the way for Philadelphia to be the first American city to provide free hospital care at the heart of the city. The history of public health reaches back to America’s beginnings: the country’s first hospital was cofounded in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1751. Philadelphia was also home to the country’s first medical school, children’s hospital, cancer hospital, nursing school, and dental school.

In 2012, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a private institution, partnered with the city to serve residents in South Philadelphia, an area beyond the historic Center City located between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers and bisected by the central arterial, Broad Street. The site is located between Morris Street and Castle Avenue with frontage on Broad.

Philadelphia-based VSBA Architects, together with its clients, led the programming and design for the South Philadelphia Community Health and Literacy Center. Its program includes a Department of Public Health community health center, a CHoP pediatric primary care clinic, a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and a community park and recreation center operated by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

This public/private effort is unprecedented in the variety of services located on a single site, in the speed of gaining public approvals, and in the financial mechanisms supporting the development. “Spurred by strong planning and design momentum, enhancing programmatic outcomes for city services is central to our investment decisions,” says Mike DiBerardinis, managing director of the City of Philadelphia.

A rendering of the exterior of the building. (VSBA Architects)

A rendering of the exterior of the building. (VSBA Architects)

Construction photo from Broad Street. (CHOP)

Construction photo from Broad Street. (CHOP)

The 93,000-square-foot (8,600 sq m), three-story structure embodies ULI’s Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places. Beyond efficiency gains and environmental sustainability, it demonstrates how the whole can far exceed the sum of its parts. The building, which is targeting a Silver rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, fully embraces the ten principles.

To see how this project embraces these princples and to read the complete article please visit http://on.uli.org/1TwL8Xn

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