Is Philadelphia Building Collapse the City's Fault?

On Wednesday, a four-story building that was being demolished in downtown Philadelphia collapsed on top of a neighboring store, killing one person and injuring several people. According to Inga Saffron, the city bears some responsibility.

"The block of Market Street where two buildings collapsed today is not just one of the most blighted stretches remaining in Center City; it is a block where blight was ignored for decades by successive city administrations," says Saffron, architecture critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She describes the property's trail of seedy owners and the questionable demolition practices that likely led to this week's tragedy.  

"Joseph Sulvetta, an architect who works nearby, said he always wondered about the quality of the demolition work. 'It wasn't the highest skilled demolition crew,' he said. 'They took off the Forum marquee without shutting down the street. It was a couple of guys with sledge hammers.'"

"I said to myself, 'This doesn't look safe'," he said. "But I knew they had gotten a permit and I assumed L&I was on top of it."



Full Story: Owner, city ignored blighted blocks for decades

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 9 different cities.
$22.00
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET