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On the Ground: Where are we headed next?

Asian Arts Initiative

The entrance to Pearl Street

Rendering of the 13th Street overpass at night

Reading Viaduct

Pearl Street

Asian Arts Initiative

Building up Pearl Street

We're on the move again. After an exciting three months in Parkside, Flying Kite is headed to Callowhill, and specifically to On the Ground's new home at the Asian Arts Initiative.

Believe it or not, the previous sentence is not without controversy. The neighborhood north of Vine, south of Spring Garden between Broad and 6th Streets has gone by many names over the years: the Loft District, Eraserhood, Chinatown North (the preferred choice of our new hosts at Asian Arts Initiative) and Callowhill. (Any we're forgetting? Tweet us @flyingkitemedia.) It's a neighborhood that has long been at the nexus of huge waves of change: urban renewal, highway construction, immigration, gentrification. And another big one is coming in the form of the long-anticipated Reading Viaduct project, an elevated park that has the potential to transform the area once again. 

The character of the neighborhood remains somewhat industrial, but residential development is booming -- no surprise considering the sublimely central location, excellent access to public transit and unique building stock (not to mention the proximity of amazing noodle soup.) As things change, how can longterm stakeholders help shape and control development? And can the increasing prevalence of nightlife and cultural destinations, from concert venues to art galleries to gastropubs, be reconciled with the legacy small businesses and commercial uses of the lofts and factories that still dot the neighborhood?

No, we won't be able to answer all those questions in three short months, but we're hoping to dig a bit, exposing the intricacies of this fascinating, evolving, essential Philadelphia neighborhood. We also aim to draw attention to the exciting placemaking work happening on Pearl Street (a.k.a. our new backyard), a long underused alley that local movers and shakers aim to transform into a vibrant cultural space.

Come visit us during open hours at Asian Arts Initiative (1219 Vine Street; Flying Kite will be working out of storefront space on Pearl Street between 13th and 12th streets): Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. And stay tuned for information on a ton of exciting events we'll be getting involved with in Callowhill...or, er, the Loft District...I mean Chinatown North.

Follow all our work #OnTheGroundPhilly via twitter (@flyingkitemedia) and Instagram (@flyingkite_ontheground).

On the Ground is made possible by the Knight Foundation, an organization that supports transformational ideas, promotes quality journalism, advances media innovation, engages communities and fosters the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
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