Profile: Philly Free Streets (October 28, 2017)

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Walking the route

Philadelphia organizers feared the exact crowds that Pokémon GO attracted in San Jose; what was a positive in one city might have been a negative here. The route was still considerable (at 3.7 miles long), but placed more emphasis on encouraging locals to visit different neighborhoods — rather than reach distant tourists.

According to Niantic metrics, approximately 10,000 people logged in to play during the event — roughly 25% of those estimated to attend the overall event by the city. This matched city goals, but only happened through deliberate decisions about how to position the game and invite player networks.

Philly Free Streets highlights active transportation options, as well as neighborhood walkability and its positive impacts on public health, the environment, business, and the community. More than a dozen locations along the route hosted activities ranging from Latin dance classes to jewelry-making.

Full Report

>> This city is featured in our detailed report! Read the PDF version for the most complete description, based on our team’s interviews, direct observation in Philadelphia, and player surveys.

Exclusive analysis in the report:

  • Turnout indicators
  • Narrative of how the experience felt
  • Comparison with the San Jose open streets case, and how the two cities achieved different goals

Key images

For non-gamers, a version of the scavenger hunt was created with clues on paper so they could participate too
Photo: Darren Burton on behalf of the City of Philadelphia
Portrait of players from news coverage by Curbed Philadelphia

(See the Curbed article, “Scenes and portraits from Philly Free Streets 2017.”)

Scavenger hunt answer sheet, handed out to players at hubs along the route


More on the Philly Free Streets remix

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