The city didn’t have tall buildings until the 1980s. Then its skyline took off.
Julia Terruso explores the evolution of the Philadelphia skyline, beginning with the 196-foot Christ Church. “The church, which dates to 1744, was the tallest structure in North America for 56 years. It is still considered one of the finest Georgian buildings in America,” she notes.
City Hall was completed in 1901, and it was the tallest building in Philadelphia, at 548 feet, until One Liberty Place went up in 1987. “The building, blue glass and steel, with a top that resembled the Chrysler Building in New York City, would rise almost twice the height of City Hall and put Philadelphia on course for a building boom in the early 1990s,” says Terruso.
Former chief city planner Barbara Kaplan says Philadelphia transformed from a city with no skyline to one with a dozen skyscrapers in a short period of time. This development growth also happened later than in most other cities.
The tallest building in the city currently is the 974-foot Comcast Center, which was completed in 2008. But next year, the Comcast Technology Center will take that title. At 1,121 feet, it will be the ninth tallest building in the country.
“The Comcast Technology Center is 147 feet taller than its neighbor, due mostly to its narrow spire of three long rectangles, the middle one the highest. Some Philadelphians have said it resembles a middle finger,” reports Terruso.
The Surprising Oil Tax in the Inflation Reduction Act
President Biden has made reducing gas prices paramount in his administration, so it was likely a surprise to hear a Republican senator last Sunday warn TV viewers that a revived and increased oil fee in the climate bill will increase their gas costs.
The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets
Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.
San Antonio Office Tower To Become Residential
With the building more than half vacant, the new owners of the Tower Life Building plan to convert the historic tower into residences that could include affordable housing.
Department of the Interior Forced to Intervene on the Colorado River
More questions than answers on the Colorado River this week as the federal government failed to deliver on threats to force Southwest states to cut back on water use.
Explaining Rent Inflation
The delayed effects of changes in rent costs make rent inflation a difficult figure to pin down.
Dallas Names 66-Mile Bike and Walking Trail
When complete, the newly named DFW Discovery Trail will incorporate 50 miles of existing trails into a regional ‘super highway.’
Chaddick Institute at DePaul University
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Cohousing Association of the US
City of Crystal River
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
City of Mesa
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.