Bringing Back Planning In Philadelphia

With the city undertaking several major planning efforts -- including a complete revision of its zoning code -- Philadelphia is entering a new shining era of city planning. But there's still more work to be done, argues a recent editorial.

"Much is made of William Penn's celebrated street grid, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the making of Society Hill. But let's face it: Despite these landmark achievements, city planning has not been Philadelphia's strong suit for a long time."

"No doubt about it: We've rested on our planning laurels. We've slept and snored. And we've come to accept a degraded public sphere as a fact of life.

Luckily, the legacy bequeathed us by long-ago decisions - walkable neighborhoods, gracious architecture and a compact downtown - now are seen as major assets by a nation rediscovering city life. A 50-year trend of population loss is leveling off; home values are rising.

Suddenly, Philadelphia is planning again: More than 1,000 people jammed the Convention Center for the recent unveiling of a new waterfront master plan. A new Zoning Code Commission has begun a rewrite of that tangled document. The city is at work on a bold GreenPlan for open space. Mayor-elect Nutter is strong on these issues.

A new era beckons. But where to begin?"

Full Story: Awaken city from its long planning nap

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