Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market has been named one of the 10 Great Public Spaces in America by the American Planning Association.
Every year the American Planning Association starts off National Community Planning Month by recognizing 30 different places in America — streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces — that exhibit exceptional character and planning. In the past five years, the APA has recognized several places in Philadelphia including the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Broad Street, Chestnut Hill, Rittenhouse Square, and Society Hill.
President Elect of the APA, Carol Ray, cited the history, architecture, and social character of the terminal market in explaining the pick. Since it opened in 1892, she said the market has been an integral part of Philadelphia’s cultural history.
“Public spaces are not only a way for communities to promote healthy lifestyles and celebrate cultural and social diversity, but they also generate economic activity and value to surrounding neighborhoods,” Ray said. “It is not surprising to see the Reading Terminal Market as a social hub for center city and one of the most popular places downtown for dining, shopping, events, and of course, people watching.”
The bustling urban marketplace is open every day of the week and offers fresh groceries, prepared foods, crafts and specialty items sold by 76 independent vendors.
“That ability to interact with someone who owns and operates a place where you buy your food is essential to the success of this building — I think it is part of the magic,” said Brent Cossrow, the director and vice chairman of Reading Terminal Market’s board of directors.
More than 6 million Philadelphians and tourists visit the Reading Terminal Market every year. General Manager Paul Steinke believes that the APA’s designation will increase the Market’s national recognition and feed its growing popularity as a destination in Philadelphia.