GeoDesign Students Develop Sustainable Plans for Philadelphia Navy Yard

M.S. in GeoDesign students and faculty work on redevelopment plans for Navy Yard.

M.S. in GeoDesign students and faculty work on redevelopment plans for Navy Yard.

Seven Philadelphia University students working toward their M.S. in GeoDesign are developing plans for the future sustainable development of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, the nation’s most successful commercial redevelopment of a former military facility.

During a six-day charrette last month, the students tackled a comprehensive review of the 2013 Master Plan redesign of the Navy Yard by Robert A. M. Stern Architects. They employed 3D geospatial software and analytical techniques to develop sustainable design alternatives for future development at the former military base, which is now a 1,200-acre business campus along the Delaware River.

The students’ plan outlines sustainable office, industrial, research, residential and open space development, said James Querry, geodesign program director.

“For the Navy Yard project, the students worked in their areas of specialty, including architecture, landscape architecture, geography, urban planning and geology,” Querry said. “They used 3D technology to design workflows and sustainability metrics, all in collaboration with other planners, designers, architects and developers.”

The accelerated, collaborative planning project, called a charrette, included considerations of solar technology, bio-climatic architecture and transit-oriented development.

The students were assisted on the project by Rob Fleming, director of PhilaU’s M.S. in Sustainable Design program, as well as officials from the Navy Yard, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, SEPTA, Garsdale Design Ltd., Esri and Pennoni Associates.

The students are continuing to refine their plans throughout the summer and will present their final designs to project stakeholders and the public at Philadelphia University’s 2015 GeoDesign Forum on October 16.

Philadelphia’s Navy Yard was established in 1776 as the first U.S. naval shipyard. The U.S. Navy closed the shipyard in 1996 and the city of Philadelphia began redevelopment in 2000 to turn it into a thriving business campus with 145 companies and 11,000 employees.

For more information on Philadelphia University’s innovative M.S. in GeoDesign program, go to

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