(Previously, Figure Ground Manhattan.)
Thomas Holme’s 1682 plan for Philadelphia was based on William Penn’s interest that the city be organized on a grid between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. Four squares around a central square were intended as open public parks. The central square was to be surrounded by governmental and public buildings. The plan was intended to evenly and comfortably spread development evenly between the rivers with gardens between.
As so often happens in with town plans, Penn’s interest was not well respected by the citizens. The developing city of Philadelphia grew chiefly along the Delaware riverfront for almost two hundred years because of the trade and commerce advantage it offered. Eventually, growth reached the opposite Schuylkill river and in 1871, the central Penn Square was filled with the historic Philadelphia City Hall. It was the tallest building in the world at the time and was topped with a 27-ton bronze statue of William Penn.
Care to venture a guess why a North Carolina architect would present a quick study of Philadelphia? Answer: Figure Ground Raleigh.