Mitchell J. Silver to Receive 2024 Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award

Philadelphia, PA, February 21, 2024 – DesignPhiladelphia is proud to announce that Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Hon. ASLA principal with McAdams, has been selected as the recipient of the 2023 Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award. Mitchell and the student design competition winners will present and be recognized at a ceremony at 1218 Arch Street on March 7, 2024. Reception is from 5:30-6:30 pm, and the ceremony will begin at 6:45 pm. Registration is required.


Mitchell is an award-winning planner with more than 38 years of experience and is internationally recognized for his leadership and contributions to contemporary planning issues. He is a prolific public speaker and specializes in urban planning, placemaking and implementation strategies.  Mitchell is one of the nation’s most celebrated urban thinkers. He was selected to Planetizen’s list of the 100 Most Influential Urbanists in the world.


DesignPhiladelphia’s selection committee chose Mitchell Silver for this award because of his leadership, contributions to urban planning and design, and visionary approaches to public spaces. His selection for the Bacon Award this year is especially appropriate because of the connection with the topic of the 2024 Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Student Competition: to honor the history and cultural contributions of Philadelphia’s 7th Ward by re-imagining a development that transcends the obstacles imposed by discriminatory planning strategies, economics, and policies.


“This year’s Bacon Urban Design Awards promises to be an extraordinary evening,” said Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of DesignPhiladelphia. “Mitchell Silver’s work and thought leadership about urban design and public space exemplifies the conversations we need to be having more of in Philadelphia.”


In addition to hearing from Mitchell Silver, student design competition finalists, from Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom and Virginia Tech University, will present their design solutions for the 7th Ward. “Working with the 7th Ward Tribute team for our student design competition has been a remarkable opportunity to reimagine a part of Philadelphia if the constraints and obstacles imposed by discriminatory economic, racial, planning strategies, and policies against the once thriving black community of the 7th ward had not occurred,” shares Michael Spain, Director of Design Education for DesignPhiladelphia. “Imagine for instance, what our city would look like today had blacked own institutions were able to leverage opportunities afforded to the predominate white culture, to sustain its growth and celebrate the rich cultural history that was established, That is what we asked our students in the competition this year.”


The Urban Design Awards honor the legacy of Edmund N. Bacon [1910-2005], Philadelphia's ambitious and outspoken City Planner and one of the most significant city planners of the 20th century. As the first Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission from 1949-1970, his design concepts shaped the post-World War II city's physical landscape. Bacon's work had such national significance that he was featured on Time magazine's cover in 1964 and brought Philadelphia into the national spotlight as a city that was ambitiously planning for its future. Past awardees include:


•                Theresa Hyuna Hwang (she/her), community-engaged architect, founder Department of Beloved


•                Toni L. Griffin, urban designer and Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of


•                Dr. Mindy Fullilove, Psychologist and Professor at the New School

•                Ed Rendell, former Mayor of Philadelphia and Governor of Pennsylvania

•                Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation

•                Denise Scott Brown, Founder + Principal of Venturi Scott Brown Associates

•                Paul Goldberger, former Architecture Critic for the New Yorker Magazine

•                Janette Sadik-Kahn, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation

•                Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogotá, Columbia

•                John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado



About DesignPhiladelphia

An independent non-profit, DesignPhiladelphia was formerly known as the Center for Architecture and Design, which was founded in 2002 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Philadelphia). DesignPhiladelphia fosters a vibrant design community from K through Career committed to excellence, inclusivity and connections. As an invaluable partner in Philadelphia’s progress we do that through multidisciplinary design education, our annual festival, and public programs. DesignPhiladelphia brings together architects, designers, developers, thought leaders, and the public under one roof at 1218 Arch Street and provides office space for AIA Philadelphia and the Community Design Collaborative. The facility is open to the public five days a week. For more information, visit


About 7th Ward Tribute

The Philadelphia City Archives, Little Giant Creative, and Mural Arts Philadelphia have received funding by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to pay homage to the profound Black history of the 7th Ward. Hearkening back to its progressive beginnings, contemporary thinkers and creatives will lead the collective concepting and design of an outdoor, place-based, experiential art installation exhibit. The Tribute will be open to the public, and will be long term or permanent where possible. A youth curriculum and self-guided walking tour informed by the research of the 7th Ward’s vibrant history will be developed to capture an accurate account of an important chapter in Philadelphia’s Black history. Curated events hosted for the general public centered around people, places and events that took place in the 7th Ward will help garner interest in the art installations and walking tour. The 7th Ward Tribute seeks to add important nuance to the story of Philadelphia by making this knowledge accessible and easy for teachers to enrich their discussions around race and history. For more information, visit


About DesignPhiladelphia Community

We foster a vibrant design community from K through Career committed to excellence, inclusivity and connections. As an invaluable partner in Philadelphia’s progress we do that through multidisciplinary design education, our annual festival, and public programs about design.

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