In the heart of West Kensington, Waterloo Playground was reclaimed by the community in recent years after many years of neglect and deferred maintenance. The park is now regularly used by many, particularly youth. Despite this resurgence, the amenities neither meet the needs of the community nor the full programming potential of the site. Engaging an interdisciplinary design team including Interface Studio Architects, Roofmeadow, Studio Ludo and Spaces for Childhood; MTWB, and partners are working with City agencies and the local community to re-envision this space for decades of future use. The design work builds on the success of the Community Design Collaborative’s Infill Playspaces competition that featured Waterloo as a subject site. Engagement activities at this site have included monthly community meetings, Youth Project Team programming, technical support for the newly established Waterloo Playground Advisory Council, and a series of hands-on building days with Public Workshop, where residents learn basic carpentry skills that will allow them to fulfill short-term community needs (e.g. seating, signage and storage). Working with the Mural Arts Program, Artist Carlos “Calo” Rosa and Project Backboard, Waterloo will also house Philadelphia’s first two basketball court surface murals. Waterloo Playground officially broke ground for phase 1 of construction in June 2018 and phase 2 is slated for later this year.
Over 30 students have participated in the Waterloo Youth Project Team since October 2016.
First project in Philadelphia to feature surface basketball court murals, working in partnership with Mural Arts Program, artist Carlos Rosa and Project Backboard.
of the park’s visitors are children 12 and under, 37% teens, 16% adults and 3% seniors
“A safe haven, amazing improvements, drug-free, drama-free and educational for all. I’m so proud and at ease that my son Michael is a part of Waterloo.”
-Daisy Mendez, Waterloo Playground Community Member