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Philadelphia Historical Neighborhoods, open to TOD

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Frankford Livability score: 70, "very livable"
• ranked #48 in Philadelphia, ranked #112 in Pennsylvania
Crime: 6,276/100k : 38% > Philly, and 1,519: 38%>Ph. on V-crimes
Median Housing: $89,992 / hh income: $30,405 : ratio: 2.96 / Rent: $818

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Fairmount & Spring Garden - Livability score: 79, "extremely livable"
• ranked #6 in Philadelphia, ranked #14 in Pennsylvania
Crime: 1,816/100k : 60% < Philly, and 440: 60%<Ph. on V-crimes
Median Housing: $353,935 / hh income: $62,975 : ratio: 5.62 / Rent: $1,181


Published on Apr 5, 2013

Explore Philadelphia's Fairmount and Spring Garden neighborhoods, often dubbed the "Art Museum area." See what seperates the personalities of these laid-back districts from nearby Center City.

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CRIME IS THE MAIN ISSUE ... in comparing the "livability" of Philly to other big cities


"Living in America"


New York, NY - Livability score: 75, "extremely livable"
• ranked #577 in New York, ranked #9277 in the USA / Cost-L: 170%
Crime: 2,315/100k : ??% > Philly, and 624: ??%>Ph. on V-crimes
Median Housing: $501,500 / hh income: $51,865 : ratio: 9.67 / Rent: $1,167

Boston, MA - Livability score: 74, "very livable"
• ranked #167 in Mass., ranked #11384 in the USA / Cost-L: 144%
Crime: 3,555/100k : ??% > Philly, and 782: ??%>Ph. on V-crimes
Median Housing: $374,700 / hh income: $53,136 : ratio: 7.05 / Rent: $1,265

Chicago, IL - Livability score: 73, "very livable"
• ranked #629 in IL., ranked #12206 in the USA / Cost-L: 116%
Crime: 3,975/100k : ??% > Philly, and 450: ??%>Ph. on V-crimes
Median Housing: $247,800 / hh income: $47,408 : ratio: 5.23 / Rent: $935


(reminder: here's Philly):

Philadelphia - Livability score: 73, "very livable"

• ranked #1001 in Penn., ranked #13266 in the USA / Cost-L: 105%

Crime: 4,541/100k : for Philly, and 1,099: for Violent-crimes
Median Housing: $142,300 / hh income: $37,016 : ratio: 3.84 / Rent: $872


(some neighborhoods in Philadelphia have lower crime scores)

Creed (2015)

On July 24, 2013, it was announced that MGM has offered Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler to direct a spin-off of Rocky. The film will focus on a man following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Apollo Creed, and getting a mentor in the now-retired Rocky Balboa. Michael B. Jordan has been offered the role of Creed's grandson, and Stallone will reprise his character of Rocky, in a script co-written by Coogler and Aaron Covington.[1] Filming began in January 2015 in Philadelphia.[2][3] It is scheduled for a November 25, 2015 release

> Rocky films: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_%28film_series%29

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Point Breeze / Gray's Ferry/ ?? narrows,

Brewerytown, Mantua, ... Port Richmond/ fishtown

(Suggested by banker, JH )



There seem to be many new housing projects under construction in Point Breeze



1936-1934 Reed Street, single family homes / see: http://www.ocfrealty.com/development-projects/1936-1934-reed-street

Location: http://mt0.googleapis.com/vt?x=19082&y=24826&z=16





Back in December of 2011, OCF proposed two four-story triplex condo buildings at 1820-1822 South St. to replace a dilapidated building and a vacant lot. At the time, the South of South Neighborhood Association and South Street West Business Association were concerned about the height and use. Working hand in hand with both neighborhood groups, several changes were made to the project. One of the changes was to bring the first floor to grade so that if a commercial use ever became viable a conversion from residential to commercial could be done more easily. A second change was the sloping of the 4th floor, creating a mansard roof and a less imposing facade from South street.

> http://www.ocfrealty.com/development-projects/1820-22-south-street


Foxbry townhomes & condos





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Phila2035 Update: University/Southwest District : Update, Jan. 30, 2013 / Adopted, June 2013 : Plan-Exec.Summary


As the Philadelphia2035 process progresses and a second round of public meetings ensues, themes and target areas identified in earlier meetings will be shared and developed.


phila2035_zpslfr1okzw.jpg : http://phila2035.org/

For the University/Southwest District Plan, which includes neighborhoods from University City, to Mantua, Walnut and Spruce Hills, Kingsessing and more, that means a focused discussion on transit and housing options, according to Andrew Meloney of the Planning Commission, the project manager for this plan, and a West Philadelphia Planner.

Screen-shot-2013-01-30-at-6.20.30-AM-560 -> Note the brown "will change" areas
Map of the district

The first round of meetings this fall were well attended, according to Meloney. Comments and insights generated by attendees at those meetings have since been reviewed and consolidated by Planning Commission staff design professionals. The beginning stages of design ideas have started to formulate. That’s what was presented and discussed at the second round of meetings, which began last week.


Photo from last week's packed meeting

“We’re sort of tossing around a few different major themes and seeing how the community and neighborhood feels about these ideas,” said Meloney.




They’ve also identified five target areas to discuss: the 40th and 46th Street Market El Stations, Baltimore Avenue between 49th and 53rd Streets, the area north of Bartram’s Garden (Bartram’s North), and the area around Kingsessing Rec Center, located at 49th and Chester. One element of the plan will be how to connect the vast university population with more local businesses. At Bartram’s North, planners will seek to engage the community about how to increase waterfront access. At meetings, planners will gauge community response by hanging Venn-diagram-like graphs where attendees can post colored stickers indicating their opinions for or against a concept, or whether their feelings lie somewhere in the middle.


Kingsessing Rec Center

With the recent Elena’s fire that ultimately toppled three 49th and Baltimore Avenue businesses, the discussion about Baltimore Ave. between 49th and 53rd Streets has taken on new meaning and timeliness. Cedar Park Neighbors conducted a survey about how to improve their neighborhood before the meetings started and well before the fire. As the meetings progress, we’ll continue to share the news.


> http://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/university-city/phila2035-update-universitysouthwest-district

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The Amtrac / 30th Street Investment Strategy




Measuring Times and distances from 30th St./Amtrac will make more and more sense,

as train usage increases. Especially as express trains to other cities (like NYC) run faster & more frequently


Philly's Cost advantage is Big:

Average Class A office space in

NYC is 2.5 TIMES more expensive that Philly's Center City

(+ there's been $300Mn+ in Hotel development since 2008)

(+ half of the residents of SW Distr. do not own cars)

(+ Walking is 50-75% of journeys, bicycling is 7%+)



Trains every 4-12 mins for much of each weekday
Starting from 5:02am to 12:32am
Journey :
30th St. > 34thSt : 40thSt : 46thSt : 52ndSt : 56thSt
08:01am > +1min. : +2min. : +2min. : +1min. : + 1min. (08:08am)
07:01pm > +1min. : +2min. : +2min. : +1min. : + 1min. (07:08pm)
==> http://www.septa.org/schedules/transit/w/MFL_1.htm





+ Create transit-oriented development overlays along Market Street and in the vicinity of stations at

30th Street, 40th Street, and 46th Street to enable higher density, mixed-use development.

+ Preserve single-family housing stock in portions of West Powelton, Saunders Park, Powelton Village, Walnut Hill, Garden Court, Cedar Park, Spruce Hill, and Kingsessing by rezoning these areas to single or two-family zoning classifications and directing multifamily growth to commercial corridors and

transit nodes.

+ Create a Request For Proposal and subsidize the development of scattered site affordable housing in a section of Kingsessing bounded by Chester Avenue, Woodland Avenue, 58th Street, and 57th Street.

+ Re-certify for blighted conditions and update the Redevelopment Area Plans for the following redevelopment areas:

South 51st Street and Baltimore Avenue

4800 block of Woodland Avenue

+ Rezone the Lower Schuylkill Industrial properties to better attract research and development, advanced and artisanal manufacturing, and institutional uses as put forth in the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan.



Baltimore Crossing at 48th Street and Baltimore Ave

By reducing the amount of roadway pedestrians must cross, the project reduces the amount of time pedestrians are in the crosswalk and exposed to vehicles. The bumpouts cut the distance between the Gold Standard corner and the Calvary Center corner by roughly 41%, the distance across 48th Street by 42% and the distance across Florence Ave by 51%. The bumpouts are also intended to slow cars as they turn onto now narrower streets.



Reorganize bus routes through University City to accommodate current and new riders within the district:

Improve connections between activity centers in Center City and University City

Provide better service to growing employment centers

Remove a travel lane on Chestnut Street west of 34th Street and replace it with a buffered bike lane

or cycle track. This would create an eastbound bike route to work in conjunction with the existing

westbound route on Walnut Street, and would also make pedestrian crossings safer.


RENEW (the Environment)

Complete the extension and creation of the following trails as prioritized by the Philadelphia Trail Master Plan:

Bartram’s Mile—the “Bartram’s North” section is highest priority

Schuylkill River swing-bridge connection from Bartram’s Mile to Grays Ferry Crescent

West Bank Greenway

Construct stormwater management and passive open space along the north side of Market Street

from 46th Street to 48th Street.


> see USW-2035plan-summary: http://phila2035.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/USW-Executive-Summary_web.pdf

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USW District Plan: 40th Street Focus Area


Orange buildings indicate possible development sites. Lighter and dashed orange represent existing proposals, with dashed buildings already under construction.

Let’s start with 40th Street. This Focus Area has two significant growth opportunities:

1) The large parcels near 38th and Lancaster, including the University City HS campus

2) The MFL Station area itself

In both cases, we have parcels of significant size and zoning that would permit a wide variety of potential build-outs. Our plan does not intend to overly prescribe; rather, we present a vision of how new development can strengthen the surrounding areas.

With the 38th and Lancaster area, a big idea is the re-introduction of a north-south street through the superblock created by the school campus. Cutting this superblock into smaller chunks can not only make it more marketable, but it brings down the scale of development to something more familiarly Philadelphian.

> http://philadelphiaplaneto.com/usw-district-plan-40th-street-focus-area/

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51st and Baltimore Redevelopment Area Plan - City of ...

The 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Area Plan includes the area in ... Street on the north, the Septa Regional Rail right of way and Willows Avenue on ... within the study area are located south of Baltimore Avenue and along...




The 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Area Plan
... includes the area in Philadelphia bounded by Catharine Street on the north, the Septa Regional Rail right of way and Willows Avenue on the south, 50th Street on the east, and 53rd Street on the west. This area lies along the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor.
Nearby points of interest include: Cedar and Malcolm X Parks, Cobbs Creek Shopping Center, and the 52nd Street Commercial Corridor. This plan has been created to guide redevelopment and rehabilitation of a deteriorated section of Baltimore
Avenue between 50th and 53rd Streets and the primarily residential blocks that surround it. The major impetus for this plan is the adoption of the University Southwest District Plan by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission on June 11th 2013. In this district plan are several goals and objectives for the study area. The majority of implementable improvements focus on continuing the revitalization of Baltimore Avenue west past 50th Street, eliminating excess road space to provide a better pedestrian experience, and changes in zoning to reflect the current community’s needs and vision for its future.
A planning staff survey of the neighborhood surrounding 51st and Baltimore Avenue reveals a legacy* industrial and residential neighborhood. While much of the area’s architecturally significant structures have deteriorated or been demolished, there still exist a number of architecturally significant homes, specifically near Cedar Park on the eastern boundary
. . .
The overall goal of the 51st and Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Plan is to provide a framework for current and future redevelopment proposals. Clear planning policies for land use, zoning, and capital program investment will permit the full commercial and institutional development potential of the study area to be realized.
The plan has three specific objectives:
- to eliminate the blighting influences of vacancy and undesirable land use along Baltimore Avenue and the surrounding residential blocks by encouraging reinvestment and redevelopment.
- to support the rezoning of legacy industrial and commercial parcels along Baltimore Avenue, and the surrounding blocks to uses better suited to the changing needs of the community.
- to improve the pedestrian experience along Baltimore Avenue by beautifying and enhancing the public realm.
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Three reasons why walkability is essential to Philadelphia’s future


Wed., APRIL 22, 2015 / 1 COMMENT

In this week’s Agenda 2015 op-ed University City District’s Daniel Wolf argues that Philly deserves a more walkable future...




Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged would benefit most from making walking safer and more convenient. In the Philadelphia area, neighborhoods with poverty rates higher than the national average have about 30% more pedestrian deaths per capita. The costs of car ownership also place the highest financial burden on the poor; in Philadelphia, it costs an average of $5,181 per car annually to own a car (not including fuel, maintenance, and repair costs).

In Walkable City, Jeff Speck writes: “With rare exceptions, every transit trip begins and ends with a walk.” While only 9% of Philadelphia residents get to work primarily by walking, another 26% take public transportation to work; thus, 35% depend on walking. It should also be noted that commuting only accounts for about 16% of all trips in the US, and walking tends to be more prevalent in non-commuting trips.


Philadelphians with lower incomes are even more likely to walk or use public transportation and less likely to drive alone (see Figure 1). For instance, 47% in the lowest earnings category walk or take public transportation to work, and 41% in the lowest three earnings categories (making less than $25,000 a year) do so.


Means of transportation to work by income

(note: there's a jump back UP in walking among the highest income group)



Pedestrians are the most likely of all street users to die from a traffic collision. In 2013, 4 of every 10 traffic deaths in Philadelphia were pedestrians – a total of 37 that year, up from 32 in 2009.


Furthermore, the likelihood of a pedestrian fatality depends on vehicle speeds. For instance, if a vehicle moving at 40 MPH hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian has an 85% chance of dying (or even higher for children and the elderly). If the speed were reduced to 30 mph, the fatality rate drops to 45%; and at 20 mph, the rate is just 5% (see Figure 2). Through implementing traffic calming measures, targeted to the most dangerous locations in the city for pedestrians, we can significantly improve pedestrian safety. For instance, University City District (UCD) has been experimenting with low-cost measures to increase the safety and comfort of key pedestrian corridors. Baltimore Crossing is a prime example: the five-way intersection of 48th St. and Baltimore Ave. had been a perilous and expansive intersection for pedestrians, where a frequent threat of colliding with cars loomed. In partnership with the city, UCD installed large painted bump-outs at three corners and added a new crosswalk, which cut pedestrian crossing distances roughly in half and made the intersection much less intimidating.

vehicle-impact-speed-and-pedestrian-injuVehicle impact speed and pedestrian injury severity

Incidentally, the Planning Commission’s 2012 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan identifies both sections of Delaware Avenue and North Broad Street, where each of the recent pedestrian crashes occurred, as 2 of 48 “pedestrian network focus areas.” In these two locations, issues such as speeding, frequent running of red lights, low rates of cars yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk, and narrow sidewalks warrant pedestrian safety improvements.


> http://planphilly.com/eyesonthestreet/2015/04/22/three-reasons-why-walkability-is-essential-to-philadelphia-s-future




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How the Next Mayor Can Save Lives and Money


Wednesday, February 4, 2015 / 15 Comments

This week the Bicycle Coalition's Sarah Clark Stuart kicks off our election themed op-ed series arguing why Philly should become the next city to adopt Vision Zero policies to make our streets safer for all users. It's part of the Better Mobility 2015 platform.

Traffic violence is not inevitable. And it’s not an “accident.” Every year in Philadelphia, nearly 100 people—pedestrians, motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists—are murdered in traffic. In addition to poor decisions and lack of compliance with traffic rules, outdated road designs and a lack of resources and funding to fix them contribute to these deaths.

Based on the data from 2009-2013, 94 people, on average, died in motor vehicle crashes. Of them, 33 were pedestrians.

. . .

The scale of Philadelphia’s traffic deaths is important to put into context. In 2013, 89 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Philadelphia. Homicides claimed 247 lives and fire claimed 23. So, motor vehicle crashes are claiming three times as many women, men and children as fires and is one-third the number of people who are murdered.

But, what is the level of resources being devoted to these three types of fatalities? The City currently budgets at least 30 times as many resources into the departments that address murders and fires as compared to the department that needs to be retrofitting city streets to make them safer. It’s gotten so bad, we at the Bicycle Coalition reported recently that the Streets Department has a paving backlog of more than 900 miles—more than a quarter of all the city’s streets.

Philadelphia is taking some steps to reduce the sort of traffic violence that results in $1 billion in avoidable economic loss to the city each year.

Early in the Nutter Administration, buffered bike lanes were installed on Spruce and Pine. According to the Mayor's Office of Transportation & Utilities, reportable crashes between 2010-2012 declined 26% after the installation of the Spruce/Pine buffered bike lanes, as compared to the number of crashes that occured between 2006-2008.

The City has identified the ten most dangerous pedestrian corridors for pedestrian crashes, and recently received a national highway safety grant to address three corridors in particular. Philadelphia has been using red-light enforcement funding to change signal timing, improve street lighting, signage and bump-outs and plans to also modify intersections and install traffic-calming roundabouts.

But, more is necessary...

> http://planphilly.com/eyesonthestreet/2015/02/04/how-the-next-mayor-can-save-lives-and-money


They are both Good !

Chuck Marohn's latest podcast talks about the importance of SLOWING DOWN cars:

Gross Negligence
3cdcb7cb14e180158c1b31a1b483626a.jpgCharles Marohn published on Jun 11, 2015 5:00AM

Chuck reviews three different incidents involving children killed by automobiles and asks: Who are really the ones showing casual indifference here?

> http://shoutengine.com/StrongTownsPodcast/gross-negligence-10265

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The 2035 Plan is using Bike trails etc to get rid of Car journeys


(Here's an excerpt from the plan)


The HIA’s primary data collection tool was a new survey of Navy Yard employees, which received over 1400 responses. Survey responses showed that new infrastructure in this district could have transformative effects on people’s transportation behavior, and by extension, their health and well-being.



The Navy Yard's ongoing success as a major employment node within our Metropolitan Subcenter means steadily increasing levels of car traffic to and from The Navy Yard. Transportation alternatives could simultaneously reduce congestion (to levels lower than current day), improve air quality, and encourage active commuting via rail, bike, and foot..

Read the HIA Summary Report.


> http://phila2035.org/home-page/communities/

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Interested in TOD Basics? There's a class for that




With the Philadelphia 2035 district plans rolling out, and with transit-oriented development (TOD) overlay districts now being implemented across some parts of the city for the first time, perhaps it's a good time to brush up on some TOD basics so you know what to expect. Reconnecting America − in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, Move LA and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy − has created an innovative TOD University curriculum to help interested parties who are engaging in community revitalization and transit planning initiatives. The target audience is residents and community members who are engaging in transit-oriented development (TOD) discussions for the first time, and might not even…


> more: http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/tags/tod/

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CENTRAL DISTRICT: Surprizingly, more homes, fewer jobs


Philadelphia’s Central District has cemented its stature as a residential destination

of choice over the past ten years. Its ability to attract new residents has
transformed not only the neighborhoods within the district boundaries, but also
Philadelphia’s entire population outlook. Population forecasts
show that the trend will continue, with the Central District
attracting 20,000 new residents over the next few decades.
+ The Central District grew by approximately 17,000 residents since 2000
+ Center City and University City contain 51% of all jobs in Philadelphia
+ $500+ million in recently completed cultural projects
+ Average Class A office space in NYC is 2.5 times more expensive than Center City
+ 335,000 jobs located in the Metropolitan Center District
+ is within a 5-hour drive of 25% of US population
+ $300+ million in hotel development since 2008
Almost 50% of non-native college students stay in Philly after graduating
+ 30% of all Central District residents walk to work
+ The Central District covers 5.67 (6.4 with water) square miles and has a total population of 117,132,
According to the 2010 census. The Central District —also commonly referred to as Center City—is a
part of the region’s metropolitan center, which also includes a portion of University City. Center City is
a highly dense, compact, mixed-use area that is the primary hub of the region’s economic, educational,
and cultural activities. Center City is the home of Philadelphia’s historic core, as well as a dynamic
area of growth that is attracting new residents, businesses, and visitors to the city.
The nexus of the city and region’s transportation system sits within the Central District with all
modes moving through or connecting within parts of the district. The 17th- century street grid,
as first designed by William Penn and Thomas Holme, creates an environment perfectly scaled for
pedestrians. Layered onto this grid are two major highways (I-95 and I-676), a growing network
of bike lanes, and a public transit system that includes trains, subways, trolleys, and buses.
The Central District’s economic profile bears little resemblance to the positive
story of residential growth over the last ten years. Despite the growth of the
Metropolitan Center as a whole, over the last few decades the Central District
has seen a decline in the number of office jobs as companies have moved to
the suburbs or other parts of the city.
Unifying and Energizing City
Hall Square
> Create a cohesive network of public spaces
> Build on recent successes and investments: Lenfest Plaza, Dilworth Plaza, Sister Cities Park
> Provide spaces and programs that appeal to every user group
> Create safe environ ments that are active throughout the day and into the night
Transforming West Callowhill’s Connections
> Leverage transit access provided by the proposed Cultural
Corridor Line to guide new development
> Establish a consistent urban scale in the area
> Modify key intersections to improve pedestrian access
> Modify key intersections to improve pedestrian access
> Prioritize the Callowhill Street-Pennsylvania Avenue
corridor for local commercial and retail development
> Create a cohesive network of public spaces
> Build on recent successes and investments: Lenfest Plaza, Dilworth Plaza, Sister Cities Park
> Provide spaces and programs that appeal to every user group
> Create safe environ ments that are active throughout the day and into the night


Revitalizing Ridge Avenue and North Broad Street
> Improve the public realm
- Enhance the quality of the streetscape,
- Green the Ridge Avenue corridor, - Build distinctive identity,
> Reinforce and leverage existing assets
- Encourage density around transit stations
- Position Ridge Avenue as a viable commercial corridor
- Adaptively reuse existing buildings

- Define connections to existing anchors


Connecting Chinatown to Franklin Square
> Restore pedestrian connections
- Reintroduce streets, - Narrow crossings, - Improve crossings
> Encourage appropriately scaled urban infill
- Introduce a variety of parcel sizes and frontages
- Introduce shared parking
- Restore street walls and urban enclosures

- Encourage street-activating ground floor use

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DUMPING the Parking requirement ... is allowing Philly to grow again


Philadelphia’s New Housing Boom – How Far Will It Go?

December 26, 2014


Philly began to lose population in the 1950s and reached a nadir in 2006. That year the tide turned. The US Census estimates the city added a net 64,000 residents from then until July 2013. Gary Jastrzab, executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, says new construction alone from 2008 through 2014 could translate to 37,000 new inhabitants. (Older houses are also being bought, renovated and reinhabited.)

Overall, Philadelphia built 2,141 residential units in 2008, the last year before the crash wiped out financing. The Great Recession depressed starts for several years. But 2013 set a modern record at 3,468 units and 2014 will break 4,000.


One possible explanation is zoning-code reform. By 2007, Philadelphia’s code had acquired 40 years of time-and-money-eating quirks that had brought development to a standstill, despite acres of abandoned land. Years of study and lobbying got the voters to approve a charter change that went into effect in August 2012. Afterwards, construction permits jumped.


Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s 2nd Dist. has been an epicenter of new construction. Johnson cited a 2013 report by Mayor Michael Nutter, stating, “The code has made some progress in simplifying the zoning and development-approval process. The report found that the code is now more straightforward, which makes development more predictable. The report also found that during the first year under the new code there was an 11% increase in by-right permit approvals and a reduction in the number of zoning variances.” Developers don’t like to deal with zoning variances; they’re an added cost, an extra risk.


A key change in zoning reform was to eliminate required parking spaces for many residential classifications. Parking is expensive and when it is mandated, it forces inner-city neighborhoods which are convenient to public transit to develop as if they are outer suburbs where everyone needs a carport. “This one change made possible many new projects that the old zoning code had discouraged,” said Tom Lussenhop, principal at U3 Ventures, a reputable firm that specializes in market-rate University City development.


But raw market forces are driving most of this housing explosion.


BUILDING INDUSTRY ASS’N President Anne Fadullon says changing lifestyles are major factor in urban housing boom.


“The market came back, financing came back. Philadelphia is coming back quickly,” said developer Anne Fadullon, president of the Building Industry Association. The boom began in Center City, she noted, “but now what you see is pressure on Center City where it has expanded. We are seeing areas develop at a pace that is surprising.”

. . .

Hot neighborhoods are walkable. Residents may own cars but they like to stroll to work, do their shopping and have their fun. So low-scale commercial and residential development tends to run hand in hand, feeding each other.

Convenience to schools and medical facilities is a sine qua non. If your neighborhood can’t offer them, you probably can’t develop it for today’s market. That leaves most Philly ZIP codes outside the current growth zone – but a few might take advantage of local eds and meds that are perhaps under-recognized.


Market-rate housing dominates today’s development. It ranges from $450,000 in favored areas like Northern Liberties to $300,000-350,000 as a rule, with some developers “trying creatively to make $200,000-300,000 work,” according to Fadullon.

Normally one would expect a family income of $100,000 to make a $300,000 new home work. But Feibush says low interest rates, creative financing and bargain-neighborhood shopping are creating market opportunities for middle-income buyers in Philadelphia. “Most homeowners I sell to are making $55,000 a year. They pay very little down. They are recent grads in their late 20s, looking to start families,” he said.


Some of these buyers would qualify for “workforce housing” – the new name for homes middle-income families can live in, but cannot pay for the full construction costs of. Largely because of land prices, it costs $200,000 to build a bare-bones home in Philadelphia. Creative public subsidies and tax breaks can sustain middle-class construction for families earning up to $75,000 a year – not rich but not poor.

. . .

Workforce housing is a different target for Clarke. Again he is seeking to leverage city-owned land by giving it away cheaply to developers who will build middle-income housing – suitable for families of four earning up to $90,000 a year – in neighborhoods that are heating up. “The only equity investment the City puts in is vacant land that heretofore nobody was interested in developing,” he explained. “It was sitting around for years and years, costing us money to maintain it.”

Clarke unveiled his program to promote affordable and workforce housing in hot inner-city neighborhoods earlier this year. He has gotten more than 30 responders offering RFPs so far.


This approach has its critics. Feibush argues that by hoarding city-owned land for subsidized housing projects which are hard to fund, the City is limiting supply and driving up prices in the market-rate development that is obviously working – particularly for middle-income “workforce” buyers, making their dream homes less attainable, not more. Philadelphia should concentrate on what is easy to buy, build and sell, he says.

. . .

Overall, new construction is handsomely outpacing decline and decay for a change in Philadelphia. But some parts of town are starting to hit the “100-year window” when working-class housing starts to age poorly and pose economic hardships on its owners. In places like the Lower Northeast, abandonment and blight are beginning to take off and no market-rate developers are moving to replace lost housing there. Areas like this may be destined to lose housing and population for some time.


> more: http://www.phillyrecord.com/2014/12/philadelphias-new-housing-boom-how-far-will-it-go/

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SOUTH District / Status : In Progress



> source: http://phila2035.org/home-page/district/south/south-map-photo-gallery/


The adopted South District Plan is available to read here. The Planning Commission officially adopted the South District Plan on June 09, 2015.

The South District planning process has officially begun as of September 2014. Our first public meeting was held on December 4th at 6pm...


Housing Units : South District 2000-2010
Year- : # Units : Percent Occupied
2000 : 59,679 : x 87% = 51,920
2010 : 60,156 : x 89% = 53,530 : +1,610
> presentation : http://phila2035.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1st-Public-Meeting-presentation_-Dec04.pdf

. . .

The South District is commonly known as South Philadelphia. Some of the historic smaller neighborhoods contained within South Philadelphia include Grays Ferry, Whitman, East Passyunk, Pennsport, and Point Breeze.

Key Issues:

South District is one of the oldest districts in the city of Philadelphia. From its original settlement by the Leni Lenape Indians to subsequent waves of immigrants, the South District is now home to diverse clusters of neighborhoods and people. Primarily residential in character, South Philadelphia is also host to many of the trendiest places in the city to dine and shop. The district is well served by transit and its narrow one-way streets are quaint and walkable in scale. Issues in the district include increasing development pressure, a lack of available land for open space and other desirable amenities, and challenges that accompany rapidly changing populations. With its wealth of infrastructure and convenient location, South Philadelphia is well poised for its future as a dynamic and thriving urban district.


> http://phila2035.org/home-page/district/south/

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Our Philly Living Q1 2015 Market Report for the hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia


Click on the image above or click here to download the PDF report. Latest From Our Blog...


Philly Living appeals to a growing number of retirees

Retirement community of tomorrow? Quite possibly. Condo projects like Carl Dranoff's One Riverside, shown here in an earlier arch... Read More


Restaurant news: Rosa's offers more ways to pay it forward

In the beginning, customers who bought slices for the homeless left sticky notes to let them know a slice was waiting for them. R... Read More


Phabulous Philly Home of the Week: 1642 Waverly Street

A delightful home in Rittenhouse Square you need to see! Tucked away on a picturesque, tree-lined street, enter this home a... Read More

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For property owners, PHA's eminent domain could be an imminent loss
SHARSWOOD : This is part one of a developing story about eminent domain in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) will be sending out purchase offers to hundreds of property owners in Sharswood, but for those who don’t want to sell, the recourse options are slim.

In January, City Council President Darrell Clarke approved a jaw-dropping 1,330 properties for the housing authority to seize through eminent domain.


This is phase one of a of a 10-year, $500 million plan to redevelop a blighted pocket of North Philadelphia known as Sharswood, located just north of Girard College and south of Cecil B. Moore Ave.

On Thursday, City Council will have its final hearing on the bill. If they give the go ahead, PHA would be slated to seize most of a five-block by six-block neighborhood. The 1,200 housing units they’ve proposed to build would more than double Blumberg’s current capacity. About two-thirds of these homes will be subsidized affordable housing, with a majority rentership population.

Of the 1,330 properties under eminent domain, 497 are already owned by the city. 833 are privately owned, and 73 of these are occupied residences. PHA has subcontracted the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RDA) to assist them in eminent domain.

Who are the private property owners?


Three of lifelong Sharswood resident Mike Scott’s properties made the long eminent domain list. Two of them are rowhomes, one a vacant but well maintained lot.

Scott has been aware of the redevelopment plans, and he realizes the potential of the neighborhood.

If you know the shortcuts, he says, you’re just a hop and a skip from Fairmount Park, and just 20 minutes to museum attractions on the parkway. He’s no sucker when it comes to the value of his land.

“I welcome change. It’s cool for the neighborhood,” Scott said. “But make me an offer I can’t refuse. A lot of these properties I bought as investments so my daughter wouldn’t have to worry about a meal being on the table.”

To Scott, a fair offer could be anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 per property. If PHA’s first offers are low, he’s prepared to turn them down...


> more: http://aldianews.com/articles/politics/housing/property-owners-phas-eminent-domain-could-be-imminent-loss/39378



Is he/she entitled to an outsized profit because the:

"... properties (were)I bought as investments so my daughter wouldn’t have to worry about a meal being on the table..."

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Philly Living appeals to a growing number of retirees


Posted by Sandy Smith on Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 7:05pm.

Retirement community of tomorrow? Quite possibly. Condo projects like Carl Dranoff's One Riverside, shown here in an earlier architect's rendering, appeal strongly to Baby Boomer suburbanites who have left the working life and are ready to retire to someplace a little more interesting and walkable.


"In the past 12 months, I've seen a large influx of this type of activity," she said.

Archdekin attributes the rise in retirees moving back to Center City to two factors, one having to do with the inherent advantages of city living and the other having to do with market conditions.

The inherent advantage is access to amenities that support an active lifestyle in retirement. "Retirees want to be in the city because it's walkable," she said. "They want to ditch their cars and change their lifestyle from a suburban one to that of the city dweller," who enjoys entertainment, dining and shopping options, including shopping for everyday needs, close at hand without having to drive everywhere.

The market-driven factor is an improvement in the overall climate for sellers. "In the recent past, people couldn't sell their homes and buy retirement homes in town because they didn't have enough equity," Archdekin said. Now that home prices have rebounded past pre-market collapse levels, more retirees find they can either sell their homes quickly or borrow against their built-up equity, buy the in-town retirement pad of their dreams, and wait until they're ready to sell their old home.

In both cases, what this means is that many retirees are paying cash for their downsized dream homes. "About two-thirds of my buyers are paying cash," she said. "Either they don't have to sell their old property first or they take out a home equity line of credit on it and hold onto it until they're ready to sell."

Other buyers are choosing their future retirement homes before they're ready to move in and putting them to work in the meantime. "Another thing some buyers are doing is, even if they're not yet ready to move in, they buy and put in a renter for one to five years because prices are going up and they want to buy for value," she said. "Then, when they're ready, they move."

This is good news for Philadelphia and for developers of smaller condominium units who worry that not enough Millennials can afford their product.


> http://www.phillyliving.com/blog/philly-living-appeals-to-a-growing-number-of-retirees.html

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Jun 25, 2015

The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, presented in association with the Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA),




...returns for two nights on Thursday, June 25th and Thursday, September 24th from 5:30 to 8:30pm.


During this unique event, University City’s Baltimore Avenue between 43rd and 51st Street showcases its charm and businesses with $1 bargains from neighborhood favorites, ranging from bites from signature restaurants to pet supplies to theater tickets.
- See more at: http://www.universitycity.org/calendar-events?date=2015/06/25#sthash.2KWnpfvy.dpuf

> http://www.universitycity.org/calendar-events?date=2015/06/25




Existing Land Use

The predominant land use along Baltimore Avenue is mixed commercial and residential with a significant
number of vacant lots. In the surrounding area, single family attached and some multi-family residential are
common land uses. The area’s industrial properties exist south of Baltimore Avenue and along the Septa
right of way. A non-profit health center, various houses of worship, and other community institutions located
on Baltimore Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, provide services to the surrounding neighborhood.
In addition, the area includes a number of large vacant lots and structures that provide a unique challenge
for redevelopment based on their current zoning. The 34 trolley and 52 bus run through the study area and
operate on Baltimore Avenue and 52nd Street, respectively.
Proposed Land Use
In order to increase commercial activity along Baltimore Avenue, mixed-use development will be encouraged and reinforced by the corridor’s current zoning. Improvements to the streetscape of Baltimore Avenue, especially around the 52nd Street intersection, are necessary to enhance the safety and accessibility of the two transit stops located there. Redevelopment of large legacy industrial structures to low-income or senior housing would be appropriate given that the local population is aging in place. Full realization of this plan does not inherently require the relocation of residents and businesses. In addition, redevelopment would
only occur for parcels that fit the strict and revised state requirements for blight certified properties
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4224 Baltimore development - a possible game-changer?




17,288sf retail / 120,601 residential : 132 units / West: 5 stories - East: 8 stories

Located at the corner of 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia, 4224 Baltimore Avenue could be a neighborhood focused real estate development project that, planned and designed properly, will add much to the thriving, diverse, and urban character of the Spruce Hill neighborhood. Clarkmore Group LLC, owner of the property has obtained a conditional zoning permit for the site


After a month of deliberations, the Zoning board has just voted by a narrow 3-2 IN FAVOR of U3 Venture's plan for 4224 Baltimore Avenue. There were some major amendments in this plan, which now allow a taller building than many in the immediate neighborhood. The quality of the design, and the careful way the amendments were presented allowed this new higher density plan to be approved.



+ The property is situated on 1.1 acres of Land, and will allow the building of a mixed use project with:

132 residences, a gym, and 1700 sf of commercial space on the ground floor

+ A building of 38 ft height would have been permitted with no change, and that would have meant 92 flats

+ The approved plan allows 78 1/2 feet - which is slightly more than twice as high


U3 started to make public presentations of its plan back in 2013

> PLAN : http://4224baltimore.com/




Comments from the Forum:

May 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm #313
markwagenveld / Participant

It would be hard to find a vacant site better suited for Center City office workers than this site. Residents would be within a short distance of two trolley lines and could commute for less than $4 a day, arriving at City Hall in about 15 minutes. So would it not make good marketing sense to orient this development toward younger professionals working either in Center City or at the universities and the hospitals? Units for longer-term graduate students and for seniors who want to stay in the neighborhood would also be a possibility. It would be great to work a car-share site into the plans. That would help keep down the number or parking places needed.

May 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm #318

Mary McGettigan / Participant

Not just young professionals, but families too would find living at 43rd and Baltimore a congenial location. My dad, a lawyer who worked in Center City, hated the sound of lawnmowers and didn’t like driving much better. So, he resisted the post-war flight to the suburbs, raised us in the neighborhood he grew up in, and took the trolley to work every day for over thirty years. I believe he considered that a very civilized way to live and would think it smart to buy a home on the park and with the option of the 13 or the 34!

> http://4224baltimore.com/?topic=transit-commute-to-center-city



CONNECTION ? Same Building ?

interesting to see that the 2035 plan for Uv/Southwest had said this about an opportunity:


43rd & Baltimore: could be developed into a nontraditional TOD site
The site would serve the growing population in this neighborhood as well as riders on the route 13 and 34 trolley lines. Depending on its state of repair, a development might consider incorporating the Health Center into the project to create a larger, 1.6-acre lot.
A large, mixed use building with a grocery store on ground floor would be desirable at this location


> source: http://phila2035.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/USW_ExistingConditionsMemos_10.17.12.pdf

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Comments from the local press: University City Review, June 24, 2015




(The developer) "exploited the new category of conditional zoning... spot zoning" - Mary Mettigan


"The scale of development is very exciting, because it signals that our community is healthy, attractive, and growing with the rest of Philadelphia. The additional neighbors will spur local businesses and send a signal that the Baltimore Avenue corridor is primed for progressive activity. Our secret that West Philly is a great place to live and work is getting out." - a real estate professional


"The building will provide an attractive urban edge to leafy Clark Park... will prove more attractive than the weedy empty lot that is there now.... It will provide more customers for Baltimore Avenue's continually growing and evolving retail and residential community."


"I am looking forward to the new retail stores along Baltimore, and hope they will be able to provide some sort of restroom for Clark Park."


"Parking may be an issue, but on the other hand the fitness center ... (could) be a real plus for the neighborhood..."


"Friends of Clark Park did a lot to make this possible."

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Development Potential near ANGORA station

/ Schools, Library
+ KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory Charter
+ John P. Turner Middle school
+ Free Library of Philadelphia, blanche nixon branch



Balt-Libr-Map_zpsdsvagadf.png : orig,map : MEL


Library Branch History

Cobbs Creek was known as Karakung by the Lenni Lenape Indians and Mill Creek by Swedes in the late 1600's. It later became known as Cobbs Creek after an English settler. The neighborhood surrounding the Cobbs Creek Branch was part of land belonging to the Hoffman family since colonial days. The area became part of Blockley Township in the 1800's.


A village called Angora centered around several mills on Cobbs Creek located at the current intersection of 60th Street and Baltimore Avenue. The woods surrounding the village were known as Sherwood Forest. In the 1910's, the mills and woods were torn down to make way for houses.

Baltimore Avenue was used to transport food and supplies from the Schuylkill River wharfs to places west of the city. Around 1905, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company started subway surface routes using the electric streetcar on Baltimore Avenue. Trolleys still travel this route today. Subway surface routes, as well as the completion of the Market Elevated in 1907, spurred residential construction in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood.

Funded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie, the Cobbs Creek Branch opened on December 30, 1925. The community contributed $10,000 toward a book fund. The building was renovated and refurbished in 1957.

In 1990, the branch library was renamed the Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch in honor of Blanche Nixon, a local resident, community activist and library volunteer. Mrs. Nixon spearheaded beautification projects at the branch, including its garden and exterior mural.

The library was renovated in 1997 as part of the "Changing Lives" campaign, which refurbished branches and brought Internet service to every library.

== ==


Angora station, on the MEL (Media/Elwyn Line)


Plan : Angora / Baltimore corridor (Exec. Summary / Spring 2007)

The City of Philadelphia has designated a Redevelopment Area in the corridor, based on the combined efforts of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell’s office, and the SOCCA Community Development Corporation. The Angora Redevelopment Area is the block bounded by Baltimore Avenue/Hoffman Street/57th Street/Cobbs Creek Parkway.
The City plans to acquire properties within the area to facilitate redevelopment for commercial and residential uses.
. . .
Philadelphia’s eastern portion, between 54th and 57th Streets, includes a concentration of small parcels with convenience retail on the first floor of attached, two-story buildings, with residential above. One shopping plaza exists, between 57th and Cobbs Creek Parkway, with fast food, grocery, auto services, and other retail uses, as well as a liquor store. A few restaurants, auto services, and other convenience goods and services businesses are located at the western end of the Philadelphia portion of the studyarea, between 60thand 61st Streets.
. . .
• Can redevelop vacant and underutilized tracts with new uses;
• Can make use of larger redevelopable sites to create new mixed-use complexes;
• Can reinforce existing central business districts along the corridor;
• Can take advantage of R-3 stations for Transit Oriented Development;
• Can reinforce the ‘Main Street’ ambiance by orienting new buildings to streets and sidewalks and placing off-street parking behind buildings;
• Can take advantage of historic sites and districts to promote new retail/eating and drinking/cultural venues and live-work settings;
• Can encourage convenience retail focused on local residents’ needs;
• Can have special services districts/multi-jurisdictional management entity along avenue;
• Can have a “branding” identity for whole corridor and sub-areas;
• Can have continuous transit service along whole corridor (no gaps, City to Springfield);
. . .
• The quality of the housing stock throughout the corridor is typically very good. Over the past decade new residential development generally skipped over the municipalities along the corridor, depressing housing values compared to surrounding areas, despite the quality.
This combination of quality housing stock and low values makes the corridor more attractive to buyers and renters who are getting squeezed out of the housing market in neighborhoods like University City and Center City due to rising real estate prices
. The Baltimore Avenue trade area already contains a high percentage of families with upscale lifestyles and consumption patterns...
. . .
The principal barrier to capitalizing on the latent demand and attracting new residents to the corridor is the lack of an available contemporary housing product that would be attractive to potential buyers and renters. Such products would include townhouses, condominiums, or flats that offer adequate space (1, 2-, and 3-bedroom units), contemporary design, and features such as high-end appliances and marble countertops, and sought-after amenities such as work-out rooms and common areas. The corridor could capitalize on its many assets to encourage new residential development. Among these is the corridor’s excellent mass transit infrastructure, including SEPTA’s R3 Regional Rail line, which provides a relatively short and inexpensive means of getting to work, particularly to jobs in University City and Center City. The availability of vacant sites of sufficient size to accommodate a reasonable density of residential units, especially sites that have been consolidated under a single owner, makes site assemblage easier and more attractive to incoming developers.
Interviews with real estate professionals in the brokerage and development communities confirmed that the target market for the corridor would be young professionals and empty nesters. Both markets require places to live that offer green space, retail stores, and entertainment. The opportunity to combine residential use with commercial use (retail and entertainment) in a setting that also contains open space is the most feasible market recommendation for the corridor overall.
The retail market analysis identified a demand for additional retail space in the corridor under existing conditions, even without the development of new residential units. While the retail inventory in the Baltimore Avenue trade area as a whole is performing well in terms of capturing consumer expenditures from trade area households, the corridor itself provides a limited selection of neighborhood retail stores and restaurants. Recent development trends in the corridor have been to build free-standing retail stores, such as supermarkets and drug stores, and interviews with real estate developers indicated that there is continued interest in this trend, with particular emphasis on the introduction of big box stores. However, the vision of the Baltimore Avenue corridor supported by current residents, as well as by the lifestyle characteristics of potential new residents, strongly suggest the need and demand for smaller neighborhood scale stores – spaces that could accommodate restaurants, specialty food stores, coffee houses, bookstores, neighborhood services, among others...

. . .

The recommended development programs for the six opportunity nodes along Baltimore Avenue would result in the addition of 1,990 to 2,550 residential units in the Primary Trade Area. As indicated below, each of the opportunity nodes would receive some residential development, including:
Angora: 400 to 450 units
• Yeadon: 500 to 600 units
• Upper Darby: 400 to 500 units
• Lansdowne: 200 to 350 units
• Clifton Heights East: 450 to 600 units
• Clifton Heights Center: 40 to 50 units.
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  • 1 month later...

INNER RING Suburbs, like Media (with a town center), have a transport link to Philly



MP3 : http://podbay.fm/show/671600858/e/1380773656?autostart=1


Fortune Magazine writer, Leigh Gallagher, has some interesting comments here on the bright future of Inner Ring suburbs (with good transport)

She grew up near Media outside Philadelphia, in a place called "Grover's Corners"


> CNU podcasts archive : http://podbay.fm/show/671600858


Pt. 1 - Leigh Gallagher - End of the Suburbs

Pt. 2 : Where Millennials will move to...

Published on 28 Jan 2014


Leigh Gallagher, Fortune /The End of The Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving joins Thom Hartmann. In the 1960s and 1970s - Americans fled decaying cities for the peace and quiet of the suburbs. Now - their children are fleeing the suburbs for the hustle and bustle of the big city. Is this trend just a blip on the demographic radar or a sign that suburban life is on its way to the dustbin of history?



Swathmore Station


The borough of Media is the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania and is located 12 miles (19 km) west of Philadelphia. Media was incorporated in 1850 at the same time that it was named the county seat. The population was 5,533 at the 2000 census. Its school district is the Rose Tree Media School District with Penncrest High School and Springton Lake Middle School. In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America

. . .

The Media Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1927.[12] The first talkie film, The Jazz Singer, was shown there. It remained a popular cinema through the 1970s. In 1994, the theater was refurbished by Walter Strine, Sr. and reopened as a professional live music theater. Shows produced there include "The Full Monty", "Carousel" and "Miss Saigon". Tony Award winners Judy Kaye and David Miller have performed there.[citation needed]


In June 2006, Media became the first town in the United States to follow over three-hundred towns in Europe in attaining fair trade certification. To meet the criteria for certification, Media passed a council resolution in support of fair trade, serve fair-trade coffee and tea in local government meetings and offices, ensure that a range of fair-trade products were available in local restaurants and businesses, raise popular support and provide media coverage for the fair-trade campaign, and convene a fair-trade steering committee to ensure continued commitment.


> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media,_Pennsylvania

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Leigh Gallagher at Google, talking about the End of the Suburbs



"I got a lot less hate mail than I thought I would"

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Ultimately, how gentrification plays out in Philadelphia will depend on how well the city's residents—both old and new—learn to live with each other's differences.

Something as simple as the failure to say hello to a passing neighbor can cause friction. Older residents like Ballard are used to being greeted by their neighbors, but newcomers walk past without so much as a nod. "It's like we don't exist for them," Ballard said.

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
The view at N. 30th and Baltz Streets in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia.


One block in Brewerytown
By Valerie Russ

Up and down the 1500 block of North Dover Street, handwritten notes on yellow legal-size sheets of paper were tucked inside the storm doors of every house.

"My name is Danielle...My husband is Kyle," the notes began. "We would like to buy your house. Please call or text me at (516)... It then gives a number for the couple in Long Island, NY.

Miss D, who lives in the middle of this tidy block of brick rowhomes -- just east of 29th Street between Jefferson and Oxford streets -- shows the note at her front door.

"I'm not interested in selling my house to nobody," said Miss D, who asked that her full name not be published. "I've been here 40 years."

Letter received by homeowners on North Dover Street.

With its proximity to both the SEPTA 48 bus and East Fairmount Park, this block of Dover Street in Brewerytown is primed for gentrification.

"People want to live here because you can park your car and take the 48 bus downtown. You've got the park nearby, and it's close to the zoo," said longtime resident William Freeman.

But on this block, gentrification is not simply a matter of white people moving into a black neighborhood and forcing blacks out. There are also African-American professionals, college-educated people, moving into homes inherited from parents and grandparents and fixing them up to live in or rent out.

Currently, there is only one white resident on the block.

There had been a few others -- renters who moved out in recent months, neighbors said. But everyone said they get along just fine with Mary Morrison, the one white homeowner.

"She's a very nice lady," Freeman said.


> more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Gentrification_in_Philadelphia.html

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  • 2 months later...
Using a proven strategy to create more vibrant, livable neighborhoods.


Transit-oriented development was an integral component of Philadelphia’s development in the past, and deserves to be an integral approach to our development in the future. The notion of orienting residential, retail, and recreational activities to make the most of transit access is as old as some of Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhoods. Sadly, citywide disinvestment during the second half of the 20th century, combined with funding crises at SEPTA, have resulted in littleif any development near Philadelphia’s transit hubs.
However, the pieces are in place to stimulate new and exciting development around Philadelphia’s transit stops in ways that make the most of the city’s urban assets and its incredible neighborhoods. The transit infrastructure is still the re--, of course, and despite past funding woes, SEPTA has continued to make large investments to maintain it. Just as importantly, the funding picture for public transportation has improved considerably as a result of this year’s budget negotiations.
Philadelphia is in the midst of an extended upward trend in residential and commercial development, both in Center City as well as the neighborhoods. Existing and new residents are embracing Philadelphia’s urban renewal as a positive thing, buoyed by amenities like newly renovated parks, improved public schools and vibrant cultural options. Finally, important work isbeing done at the state level, to provide incentives and targeted funds to facilitate the connection between transit and development.
. . .
Executive Summary
density, and are designed in such a way to extract the value of good automobile access without that accessibility
rendering the transit service less valuable. At the very least, parking structures could be designed to enhance the pedestrian experience, by including retail or other visually appealing uses at the street level.
Barriers to Transit-Oriented Development in Philadelphia
Construction costs in Philadelphia are significantly higher than those in the surrounding suburbs, making it expensive to supply Philadelphia with TOD. Furthermore, decentralization of residential, employment, and retail centers has resulted in a significant loss of population, jobs, and shopping activity in Philadelphia


In Philadelphia’s case, this meant that the oldest communities that developed along the major transit lines were the most adversely affected. Thus, instead of TOD-friendly sites attracting more development, they experienced more disinvestment.

Structural Hurdles
• Site assembly with multiple small and/or odd-sized lots
• Demolition and environmental clean-up costs
• Union costs – rates and work rule changes required
Governmental Hurdles
• Time consuming and uncertain zoning permitting and entitled processes
• Regulatory requirements with excessive costs
. . .
TOD, with its focus on transit access, good urban design, and multiple housing price points, could be an effective mechanism by which previously disinvested locations, such as those around MFL stations in West Philadelphia and Broad Street Line (BSL) stations in North Philadelphia and South Philadelphia, could be rejuvenated in ways that are aesthetically pleasing and that produce lively, mixed-income settings.
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BIG grants to improve river access and neighborhood businesses

Posted on 21 October 2015


Great news for two local non-profit organizations – The Enterprise Center and Bartram’s Garden – which have been selected to receive generous grants.

Bartram’s Garden has announced on their website that they are a recipient of a $2 million grant from the William Penn Foundation. “This funding will increase access to the Schuylkill River and promote Bartram’s Garden as a cultural hub in Southwest Philadelphia. Among the areas targeted are capital projects and programming for enhanced use of the river as a community recreational space and environmental center,” reads the announcement. The grant will be distributed over three years.


The Enterprise Center, a West Philly business accelerator, is in line for up to $1.2 million ScaleUp America grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to reports. The purpose of the ScaleUp America funding is to help existing businesses in underserved neighborhoods grow. The funding will be used for training, technical assistance, and networking events for small businesses in the area, especially those run by minorities and women, Philly.com reports. The first portion of the grant, $239,323, will come in the first year. The Enterprise Center expects to receive $1.2 million over five years.


> http://www.westphillylocal.com/

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