Sisters Spark Tactical Urbanism in Philadelphia

Young activists Emaleigh and Ainé Doley take matters into their own hands to clean up their neighborhood street in run-down Germantown.
June 29, 2012, 5am PDT | Akemi Leung
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With their neighbors losing homes to foreclosure, community activists Emaleigh and Ainé Doley watched as renters moved in--bringing with them "a trifecta of poverty, drugs, and violence."

Inga Saffron reports that the Doleys started "Grow This Block" to combat the decline of their Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia. Publicized by their own blog and Tweets, the Doley sisters created community events, such as trash pickup, gardening, and low-cost neutering for the rapidly multiplying stray cats.

Urban planner Mike Lydon calls this kind of grassroots action "tactical urbanism." Sometimes, these "tactical" efforts catch the attention of the municipal government, as it did when Miami residents spray-painted weeds to get officials to clean up an abandoned lot. Lydon concedes that, "this kind of approach doesn't replace the need for conventional planning."

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Published on Saturday, June 9, 2012 in The Philadelphia Inquirer
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