“Digital District” Would Bring Electronic Displays to Center City

Would it be Philly's version of Times Square?

Philadelphia Business Journal reports on a proposal to create a “digital district” in Center City that would feature large electronic displays. Legislation is being sought by Thaddeus Bartkowski, who heads up Catalyst Outdoor of Newtown Square, Pa.,

Called urban experiential displays, or UEDs, they would communicate advertising, news and public service announcements. These UEDs are also being proposed as a revenue generator for the city as well as a place making mechanism.

Some might consider these units as disrupting and littering the cityscape with unnecessary lighting and advertising and compare them on some level to Times Square. Others might look at them largely as high-tech place-making devices and pieces of electronic artwork that happen to also generate revenues and provide information and advertising.

“What Thaddeus has put on paper and what he has created will become one of the real icons in Philadelphia,” said Joe Zuritsky, CEO of Parkway Corp., who has been a supporter of the displays and actually initiated the idea of creating something to jazz up the outside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. “It will become the most photographed object in Philadelphia. It will be spectacular. This town has come a long way in the last 25 years and this adds something to it. It adds another dimension. These are things we need to push our city forward.”

Four locations have already been identified: 1818 Market St. (where the Philly Mag offices are located);  12th and Arch streets; on a parking garage adjacent to the Bellevue; and at another Parkway property on North Broad Street at Broad and Race streets.