how can an urban campus promote ecological health?


Our work at Drexel University began with a plan. We worked with the Drexel community and Goody Clancy architects to develop a master plan that created iconic new spaces, enlivened the streets, and established a more sustainable campus. Then we redesigned the heart of Drexel University as a web of woodland walks with diverse plant communities and a canopy of shade trees. We incorporated gathering spaces to accommodate daily interactions with flexible seating and food trucks, as well as formal areas for large scale celebrations. Drexel University president John Fry called Perelman Plaza a “true town square… the most spectacular community space Drexel has ever had.”

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At the main quadrangle, we were able to reduce the impervious cover by 96 percent through a combination of porous paving, planting areas, and a new central green space. The site will reduce the urban heat island effect and support biodiversity, providing important environmental benefits for the University City neighborhood.


  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Size: 3 acres
  • Role: Prime, Landscape Architect of Record
  • Services: Master Planning, Concept Design, Sustainable Site Design, Stormwater Management, Construction Documentation and Observation


  • Inga Saffron, “A minimum of glitter, but it’s a real gem,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 2011: E1.
  • Mary Myers, “Multivalent Landscape: The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center Case Study” in Landscape Journal, 2013, 32:2.
  • Joanne Greco, “Body AND Soul Centers” in Planning, March 2012: 26-30


  • 2012 SCUP Honor Award in Excellence in Planning for an Existing Campus from the Society for College and University Planning, with Goody Clancy Architects