Skip to Main Homepage

Capturing a Neighborhood’s Past and Future

The Rail Park's programming incorporates history and cultural sites. Credit: Friends of the Rail Park.

Friends of the Rail Park—whose project is revitalizing three miles of unused Philadelphia rail lines—took a temporal approach to creating a community assets map. The Rail Park Time Capsule will serve as a public archive of shared histories, stories, and hopes of the people who live in the 10-plus neighborhoods close to the park.

At art installations, musical performances, and tours, the organization invited neighbors to recount memories of people and places, and asked what they hoped the park would be in the future. (Amid the COVID pandemic’s social distancing restrictions, they hosted virtual sessions and published an online submission form too.) Participants have shared fantastic memories and their park visions through written narratives, photos, songs, and illustrations. One remembered gazing at the city skyline through a train window when the rail line was operational. Another recalled sneaking into the site as a child.

A digital archiving company will create an interactive, geotagged digital map with all the information the organization gathers. Friends of the Rail Park will also look to the time capsule to inform programming, communications, and capital planning.

Download PDF

Share this Case Study

Share on mail

Would you like to showcase your own work to embed equity in your infrastructure reuse project?