"Hi, I'm Kevin Bacon," the actor begins as he and his impeccably coiffed shock of hair take a seat in front of the camera next to his brother, musician Michael Bacon. "You probably know me as an actor." Thus begins the short film the brothers recently shot to introduce the 2016 Better Philadelphia Challenge, in which two teams —one student and one professional— are poised to win 5,000 bucks each for innovative design ideas for the future of Philadelphia. Now in its 10th year, the challenge was founded in memory of their father, Ed Bacon, Philadelphia's iconic 20th century city planner.
Ed Bacon was a believer in Philadelphia, a work horse, and a visionary. He was also, as son Kevin mentions in the film: "the only city planner ever to feature on the cover of Time Magazine." The Better Philadelphia Challenge continues his legacy of educating the next generation of urban planners, "supporting the citizens of Philadelphia with great urban design, and advocating for urban spaces that serve all."
In celebration of the competition's 10th year, it's now open to both students and professionals, and offering two first prizes of $5,000. College students and professionals/recent graduates will be judged separately.
Registration for the competition is now open, and you can download the brief here (PDF!). The submission deadline is October 23.
This year's competition focuses on West Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood, chosen as one of President Obama's first "Promise Zones" for economic development. The competition brief poses the question: "As part of this neighborhood's development, what physical design interventions could encourage healthy and active lifestyles, thereby improving public health among residents?"
"Help us imagine a better Philadelphia," says Kevin at the close of the film. Let's see what you got, Philly. Make Ed proud.
· Michael + Kevin Bacon Challenge You To Win $5,000! [You Tube]
· 2016 Better Philadelphia Challenge [Center for Architecture]