Six Degrees of Edmund Bacon

Edmund Bacon and I are two of the very few people who graduated from both Cornell and Cranbrook, so I have to have a soft spot for him. More than that, though, I really respect the fact that his vision for a public plaza in downtown Philadelphia, conceived as an undergrad at Cornell and realized years later when he was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, shifted as skateboarders adopted the [arguably unsuccessful] public space as their own. How many dedicated professionals have the confidence and humility to accept when their work takes on a life so vastly different from their original vision? How many of them actively support such a radical change?

In the photo above, Ed Bacon was skating [err, sort of] in JFK Plaza, a.k.a. LOVE Park at the age of 92 to protest the skateboarding ban. I’m with him on siding with the urban skaters. Bacon passed away three years ago today.


2 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Edmund Bacon

  1. I really appreciate that Bacon, although very much a product of his generation in many ways, shifted his thinking about his practice and cities in general as he grew older. It’s a laudable goal for all of us to keep in mind.

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