how can an urban campus promote ecological health?


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

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Through a combination of porous paving, planting areas, and a new central green space, Andropogon was able to reduce the impervious cover by 96% at the main quadrangle of the campus. The site is now able to 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, Conceptual 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