- How to Green
- Philly Represent!
- Plastic Bag Reduction
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission presented The Future is Now: Philadelphia 2035 Update at the Center for Architecture (1218 Arch Street) last evening. A packed room (half-standing) for the “sold out” event, attendees from younger to well aged made an appearance – including a surprise speech from Mayor Michael Nutter. Sustainability was a main focus of the city plan, both with current progress and future goals. The Citizens Planning Institute, a Philadelphia City Planning Commission project involving official education and outreach recognized its volunteer graduates during the program.
Philadelphia 2035 is the two-phase plan for the physical development of our city for 25 years (2011-2035) using the “new” zoning code. Last night’s discussion began with highlights of Philadelphia’s progress in 2012, which was formulated into a 12 month “report” calendar for participants. Much of the progress was due to the Greenworks sustainability initiatives: Philadelphia has the lowest CO2 emissions of surrounding areas. New electrical charging stations have been added (with many more to come). 4000 trees were planted last year. Partnership with the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA has never been stronger and continues to improve.
Moderated by PennDesign Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources Michael DiBerardinis, and Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities Andrew Stober reflected on Philadelphia’s progress during a panel discussion. Stober kicked off the convo with his biggest goals: a waterfront trolley, access to the Navy yard, and bringing BikeShare to Philadelphia by 2014 (which had already been announced). DiBerardinis mentioned he wants people to get outside (whether by bike, with other people, etc) and that Phila Parks & Rec will convert blacktop at rec centers to green space. Greenberger stated his desire to build Market “West” (2100-2200 blocks of Market St).
The 4 next big (agreed) wins for Philadelphia 2035? BikeShare, transit expansion, 500 new green acres and a new Market East.
The discussion was lighthearted at times – When the moderator agreed that she’d ‘slow down for “bikers”‘, Stober was quick to fact check with, “You don’t move slower with bikes in the bike lane”. Mayor Michael Nutter cracked jokes about the excitement of zoning codes but balanced it with how much progress Philadelphia has made. “Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the United States. People are talking about us in very positive terms.”
Mayor Nutter also slipped in a global warming reference when discussing our current heat wave in the middle of January. “Philadelphia’s a Hot City. No, really. For all those who don’t know, it’s supposed to be 64 degrees tomorrow. In January. For all those who don’t think something’s going on with global warming.”
Overall, the Philadelphia 2035 update was an interesting reflection on the light-hearted issues, but some of our ongoing problems were ignored. Mayor Nutter was discussing gun violence before the City Planning meeting and emphasized that importance. Yet not much was mentioned about plans to reduce city poverty or violence. Planting trees and getting people to take public transit and bike are awesome – but what about stepping up environmental legislation to make a major Philadelphia change? There are studies that cleanervareas/cities tend to have less violence. Although many of these Philadelphia 2035 initiatives will help clean up the city, we still do need to keep in mind the bigger picture.
Bonus: We also had a minute to catch up with Mayor Nutter and mention our plastic bag reduction initiative. As the Mayor responded, “Plastic bags are entirely disposable, last forever, and clutter our streets… I’d be interested to see what City Council comes up with.”
Photos: Green Philly Blog
Green Philly Blog
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