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Penn Praxis takes its Green 2015 plan to the people

When the planners of Penn Praxis designed the Civic Vision for the Central Delaware, they envisioned a bustling commercial waterfront loaded with restaurants, shopping, and, above all, green space. As development plans have begun, projects like the Race Street Pier and Pier 53 have brought parks to areas previously disconnected from green space, raising property values and public health in the process. Penn Praxis returns this week with its latest plan, Green 2015, an action plan designed to add 500 acres of open space to Philadelphia by 2015.

Green 2015 is a response to the Greenworks Sustainability Plan, issued by the Nutter Administration, to add 500 acres to the equity of the city, giving special focus to those areas without proper park access. Penn Praxis unveils this plan at the today's Urban Sustainability Forum at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

"In the report, we try to address people who might ask why we would invest in something like this during such tough economic times," says Penn Praxis Executive Director Harris Steinberg. "How do we serve those areas who are underserved? By adding those economic as well as social, environmental and public health benefits of green space."

Even with these considerations, cost is a concern. So the plan focuses first on using city-owned land to reduce acquisition costs, focusing on school yards, rec centers and vacant lands in under-greened neighborhoods, giving planners more than 1,000 acres to work with. The plan also examines storm water management goals set forth by the EPA, adding funding to these initiatives. Mayor Nutter and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis will be on hand Tuesday to mark the official start of this action plan.

"There is a lot of collaboration across many different agencies, which I think bodes very well," says Steinberg. "It is always hard during tough economic times because you have to strike a balance between existing resources and getting the most out of your work but we expect a positive response overall."

Source: Harris Steinberg, Penn Praxis
Writer: John Steele
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