ULI Philadelphia Blog

Reflecting on the ULI Philadelphia Awards

As an attendee of the ULI Philadelphia Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence earlier this month, I was privileged to sit among the builders and creators of this beautiful city.

As Inga Saffron claimed in the ceremony’s welcome remarks – Philadelphia has some unique features that have helped maintain the liveliness of this city.  Some noteworthy points included the value of Center City’s healthy mix of uses, inviting sidewalk retail, and the decline of parking garages -leaving room for innovative solutions in how to reuse this space.  Inga spoke on about the changing retail market due to online shopping and technologies and called on those in the audience to envision new buildings to accommodate for “future retail.”  Future retail will not sell goods.  It will sell experiences.  Inga’s comments and thoughts resonated with me as in that moment, those in attendance were called to envision a future that places a higher value on non-material goods.

Tony Greenberg, Jury Chair, commented on the consistent high quality submissions that were received from the Philadelphia region this year.  These submissions stand as a testament to the forward thinking, problem solving and ambitious collective of developers and designers that are doing work in the area.  It takes commitment, drive, and passion to produce this kind of work.  This city has proven to be able to produce “miracles” in development and that night, we all believed in what sometimes seems impossible.

Awards were handed out to the following projects:

Bridge – for achievements in mixed income housing, active street design, and a well scaled mixed-use design.

Capital Flats phases 1,2,3 – for a retrofit transformation of an industrial building serving the community.

El Corazón Cultural Center – for excellence in community impact, sustainability and financial success.

Nursing and Science Building at Rutgers University – Camden – for exemplary site unitization and community impact.

South Point – for innovative infill workforce housing using passive house strategies.

Spruce Street Harbor Park – for excellence in place making by developing an adaptable, replicable, and diverse public space.

Whether you’re working on housing, retail, education, community design, landscape, or looking for ways to contribute to the transformation of this city, I urge you to read more about these projects and learn from them.  Then, reach out and get involved!  ULI is a great place to start!  Together, we can build a future that’s a little brighter and an urbanism that’s a little better for every resident and visitor of this city.


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Ramune Bartuskaite is a Designer at JKRP Architects, winner of the 2018 ULI Philadelphia Etkin Johnson Scholarship, and member of the Young Leaders Council.

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