Penn Hosts MLB Panel on ‘Ballparks as Urban Anchors’

PRESS RELEASE – The Penn Institute for Urban Research will host a panel discussion with leaders from Major League Baseball teams at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1,  in  Houston Hall’s Bodek Lounge. The Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Florida Marlins will be represented.

The event kicks off a two-day Penn IUR Roundtable on Anchor Institutions (PRAI) conference, which convenes leaders of institutions that function both as important physical presences in their cities and as a part of the economic lifeblood of their communities.

“Ballparks as Urban Anchors” will focus on how ballparks can anchor urban revitalization. Speakers include:  Edward L. Cohen,  principal owner, Washington Nationals; Paul Dolan, chair and CEO, Cleveland Indians; David Montgomery, president and CEO, Philadelphia Phillies; Irwin P. Raij, partner, Foley & Lardner and Manny Diaz, former mayor, Miami, Florida. Eugénie Birch, co-director of Penn IUR, will moderate the discussion.

Panelists will discuss ballparks as entertainment centers, sources of community pride, wealth-builders in local economies, and redevelopment catalysts. Some questions panelists will address are:

  •  In what ways do ballparks contribute to their neighborhoods, cities, and regions? How do these benefits balance the use of public monies in building these facilities?
  • How can new or renovated ballparks catalyze development beyond the building site? How can teams engage the local community to help transform urban areas in ways that benefit both the team and the community?
  • What factors contribute to a successful partnership between team and city? What can teams do to facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship? Conversely, what would teams like to see from neighborhood representatives and local elected officials?
  • The panel includes representatives from teams with ballparks in a diverse range of settings: established downtowns, underdeveloped industrial areas, revitalizing waterfronts, and in clusters of other sports facilities.  How does the siting of a ballpark contribute to its relationship to its city?
  • “We are thrilled to have such a diversity of perspectives,” says Birch. “The discussion promises to be lively.”

The public panel discussion kicks off the 3rd annual Penn IUR Roundtable on Anchor Institutions, a peer-to-peer exchange of anchor institution leaders on the opportunities and challenges they face in the urban landscape. It also marks the first event in Penn IUR’s seminar series “Games and the City,” which is co-sponsored by the Provost’s Office Year of Games and PennDesign’s Department of City and Regional Planning.

“Ballparks as Urban Anchors” is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should register by Nov. 29, by emailing Walk-in registration based on availability. Additional information on Penn IUR events and programming is available at

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Filed under Conference & Events, Stadium Issues

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