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
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
Harris Steinberg, Penn Praxis