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Waterloo Playground

 

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.

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Ralph Brooks Park

MTWB’s first project at Ralph Brooks Park was a multi-faceted neighborhood revitalization project with a focus on providing a safe, engaging space for youth and adults in Point Breeze, South Philadelphia. The rehabilitation and expansion of Ralph Brooks Park continues to serve as a catalyst and hub for neighborhood renewal and inter-generational engagement, both through the development process and ongoing use and stewardship of the park.

The rehabilitation of the existing park included improvements to the basketball court, tot lot, pedestrian access points, as well as the addition of a rain garden and subsurface green stormwater infrastructure in accordance with PWD’s Green Cities, Clean Waters initiative. Additionally, MTWB worked with city officials to convert seven other lots along the block to public use. These lots then became new community gardens as well as concessions, seating and storage space for the Ralph Brooks Park Community Basketball League. The site also features murals created by Steve “ESPO” Powers through the Mural Arts Program. The end result of the project is a network of recreational amenities inspired by the desires and needs of the community, working to promote athletics, safety, health, and the arts.

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