Talk:Edmund Bacon (architect)
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Spikebrennan 14:39, 20 September 2005 (UTC) I agree completely that the [Ed Bacon] and [Edmund Bacon] articles should be merged. Is there any consensus on which of the two names would be more appropriate? Here in Philadelphia, he's more familiarly known as "Ed Bacon".
Some corrections and Edmund Bacon
First, any joining should, out of respect, be known under Edmund Bacon; the familiar of Ed Bacon was reserved mostly for friends and family, from what I know, and you don't put William Shakespeare under Bill Shakespeare now do you?
Second, Bacon had little to do with the depressed property values of South Street and South Street is no Bohemian district today. If anything, South Street is a yuppie, muppie, guppie, zuppie loss leader and flop just like Sansom Street was in the late 1960's owing to bar and food vendors having destroyed the art that founded the two streets from their beginnings.
South Street property values were destroyed by the people who own and run South Street. It has nothing to do with Edmund Bacon who only built fantastic districts, parks, and famous places throughout the city.
There is absolutely nothing Bohemian about a sushi bar, the cigarette nazis of Philadelphia and other cities, and the absolute anti-band mentality of the street which has caused all of the artists to move elsewhere. If you want Bohemian, go to Manyunk, not South Street.
Edmund Bacon's crowning achievements include JFK Plaze which became Love Plaza, the sprawling footstool of the great avenue that leads from City Hall to the Art Museum, the Parthenon on the Parkway. That his son Kevin Bacon is a great actor, who also plays guitar and writes music with the elder son Michael Bacon comes as no surprise, but you're more likely to see his sons playing in Manyunk, the true Bohemian distict of current Philadelphia because there is no place to play on South Street anymore. Thank you very much South Street club and property owners.
Every time someone like Edmund Bacon delivers a great architectural idea for the city where the people meet their culture, some jealous furbie comes along and tries to destroy it by hosting events that fence it off from the people who paid for it, such as the numerous events at Penn's Landing where they started fencing it off and charging a fee for such events as early as about 1982 or 1983. Penn's Landing, another of Edmund Bacon's crowning achievements, was designed to be a free and open space for culture. Instead, latter day politicians and promoters turned it into a cash cow for themselves, invited foreign talent to perform there, and ostracised local talent. Once over crowded, the concrete pier of the landing leaves no where to go except into the murky depths of the Delaware River, but the promoters don't really care who falls into the killer river. Edmund Bacon would have been adamantly opposed to fencing the area off no matter what the cause.
Edmund Bacon would have also been opposed to people from other cities taking over his designs, spaces, and the architectural ideas he wanted for them, the ones that would benefit the people of Philadelphia. From South Street to Penn's Landing, and even from JFK Plaza or Love Plaza to the Art Museum, what Philadelphians see is exactly that, occupation by foreign artists and culture of our city.
Maybe his son Kevin will come back some day and set this straight. If he chooses not too, that's okay too, but he really should, since the city and his father gave him so much more than others in the city where he and his father were born. Edmund Bacon would be the first to tell you that his greatest architectural accomplishments were his children.
This article needs more depth from real people that knew Edmund Bacon and not so much conjecture.
Ed's Name & A Plea For Balance
The Ed Bacon Foundation, an organization specifically set up for the propogation of Ed Bacon propaganda, is called The "Ed Bacon" Foundation. So, how offensive could he have found that name? He was also commonly known as Ed Bacon, so it seems clear to me the article should be under "Ed Bacon." It's unclear how any of this is related to what anyone calls Shakespeare.
How "bohemian" South Street may or may not be is certainly a point that can be argued. What can't be argued is that the area is today a commercial success. It is that success today because the residents and businesspeople of that area rose up and resisted the Edster's paternalistic, Soviet-style plan to basically eliminate their area. If the people who populated what is now Independence Mall had done the same, Old City wouldn't be separated from Center City by a preposterous area of open space that is only beautiful or useful if viewed from a high floor of the Rohm and Haas building. Independence Mall ghettoized Old City for years by creating a barrier between it and Center City; we need to thank Eddie Bacon for that.
And, Penn's Landing? Again, like his work on Independence Mall, the Edmeister has basically no sense of pedestrian flow. Penn's Landing is an island on the wrong side of I-95. 95 acts as a barrier that makes pedestrian traffic to Penn's Landing unlikely; the difficulty of accessing it by car and subesquently parking make an auto visit equally unlikely. More open space that is really useless space. One may ridicule paid events down there, but they are the only reason any sane person would venture to Penn's Landing, unless s/he really admires the Camden skyline.
Everything Bacon did is "beautiful" in and of itself, but doesn't advance the overall goal of a liveable or economically thriving city. His work is revered on exactly that level, mostly by people who don't have to live with it on a daily basis and don't know the city well enough to understand how his discrete projects interact with the city and its people. Bacon's work reminds me of Mies' work on the Farnsworth_House. It's beautiful, but when you give it 10 minutes of critical thought, you realize it's unliveable.
This article is already too reverential to a man who helped handicap and restrict the growth of Philadelphia in the name of what he percieved as beauty and order. The last thing it needs is more input from people "who knew him" and have fallen under the spell of his cult of personality. He built "districts, parks, and famous places"; he also was the city planner for a city that lost roughly 25% percent of its population under his watch. Balance in this article would note that. I'd edit it, but I'm sure the Baconites would flip it right back to their reverential view.Meersman 05:03, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
References and controversy
Ed Bacon was an important figure in planning and developing Philadelphia, but not without controversy. This article is lacking in references, and lacking in any serious discussion of choices. More is needed. --DThomsen8 (talk) 23:34, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Not a word about Eastwick, an utter failure that destroyed an established, integrated, heavily immigrant community. (I lived there doing this disaster.) See LIBERAL ENDS THROUGH ILLIBERAL MEANS: Race, Urban Renewal, and Community in the Eastwick Section of Philadelphia, 1949-1990, GUIAN A. MCKEE, University of California at Berkeley OF URBAN HISTORY, Vol. 27 No. 5, July 2001 547-583.