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Fast Company ponders Philly as America's next big tech town

Fast Company talks to Technically Philly's Sean Blanda and DuckDuckGo's Gabriel Weinberg, among others, about Philadelphia's bustling technology sector.
"Like many cities, Philly has seen a significant increase in all aspects of the startup lifecycle--start, growth, exit," says DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg. "I think we're riding the global trend here, but also we've had great community leaders as well." He continues: "Our community is very tight-knit, which means it is very easy to connect with the top people in the scene."
Original source: Fast Company
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Park it here: Philly ranked among world's best cities for parks

We're not exactly sure of the criteria, but we can't help but agree with the folks at Frommer’s who think pretty highly of our parks, naming Philadelphia to its list of the world’s 10 best cities for parks.
Highlights include Wissahickon Valley Park with 50 miles of rugged terrain for mountain bikers and hikers, plus trout fishing in Wissahickon creek; Pennypack Park along the Delaware River; the Azalea Garden; Boathouse Row; Batram's Garden; the Japanese House and Garden; Franklin D. Roosevelt Park ("The Lakes"); and East and West Parks.
Original source: Frommer’s
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Industrial designers look to develop sensual map of Philadelphia

Philadelphia architect, fine artist and teacher Joseph G. Brin interviews Industrial Design Society of American North East District VP Elect Stephan Clambaneva in advance of the organization's conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on April 13-14.

The workshop is called a “Sense of Philadelphia.” We intend to conduct a workshop to develop a “sensual” map of Philadelphiia.

Participants will split into groups and explore how to make the intangible tangible by using the five senses and the Great City of Philadelphia as inspiration. Using their sense kits each participant will capture his or her sense in a bottle, or in this case, a petri dish and in about two hours, the teams will manage to use these to generate a variety of potential new products or services that highlight, showcase, help experience or, in some cases, illuminate those quintessential sensual experiences only Philadelphia can offer!

Original source: Metropolis Mag
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Philly ranks 30th on global city competitiveness list

Philadelphia ranked 30th overall, just behind Dallas, Dublin, Madrid and Seattle and ahead of Berlin, Atlanta, Oslo and Brussels, in The Economist Intelligence Unit's report Hot Spots: Benchmarking Global City Competitiveness. We were tied for 10th when it came to institutional effectiveness with a bunch of other American cities and 16th when it came to human capital.

Size alone does not determine a city’s growth potential. While some megacities, such as New York and Tokyo, are immensely influential, there are smaller ones, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, which have established themselves as globally competitive centres in recent years. Meanwhile, emerging market cities such as Ahmedabad and Tianjin are witnessing double-digit economic growth and have the potential to grow even faster.

Original source: The Economist
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Soup's on: PhilaSoup promotes innovative education projects

Philadelphia sisters Claire and Nikka Landau and friend Jason Tucker have established PhilaSoup as a monthly dinner bringing together dynamic educators to fund the most ambitious and innovative projects, reports NPR.

On a recent Sunday night, the trio of friends welcomed about 45 teachers and other members of the local education community to a cozy gathering at the University Barge Club, a 19th-century boathouse on the banks of the Schuylkill River. As folks walked in, they were asked to fill out name tags -- with their names and the names of their favorite children's books.

"Teachers all over Philadelphia are doing terrific projects," Claire said. "It's really exciting to gather and break bread with teachers from across the city doing exciting things."

Original source: NPR
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How zoning code reform paves the way for sustainability citywide

The American Planning Association's Sustaining Places blog takes a look at how zoning code reform in Philadelphia is promoting sustainability.

Early in the zoning reform process, the new Zoning Code Commission agreed on a set of seven broad goals for the new code. Four of these goals addressed code structure and administration: simplify base districts, simplify overlay districts, simplify approvals, and improve readability and reorganization. The other three goals aimed more at the substance of the code: protect neighborhoods, promote sustainability, and promote quality and design.

Original source: American Planning Association Sustaining Places blog
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Vacant lots study: Philly green spaces reduce crime rates, stress and cholesterol

A University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine study found that converting vacant lots into small parks or community green spaces can reduce crime in distressed neighborhoods, reports The Atlantic.

Vacant lot greening was associated with significant reductions in gun assaults across all four sections of Philadelphia in the study and with significant reductions in vandalism in one section. Greening was also associated with the reporting of significantly less stress in one of the sections of the city and with more exercise in another. Cholesterol numbers were lower to a statistically significant degree for the greened areas across all four city sections.

Original source: The Atlantic
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From scrub time to prime time: Excitement abounds for The Roots mural

Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter got busted for graffiti as a Philadelphia teen. Now he'll be the subject of public art with The Roots mural planned for South Street, reports the Associated Press.

"They remind us why we love art, why art is so important, why art is a lifeline, why art can be transformative and why we need it," said Jane Golden, director of the city's Mural Arts Program.

The energetic Golden literally jumped up and down with excitement in announcing the eight-month project, which will include soliciting mural design ideas, creating a storefront art studio for community workshops and developing a "Roots 101" arts education curriculum for students.

Original source: Associated Press
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Why Restaurant Weeks are good for restaurants, cities

Center City Philadelphia's Restaurant Week is among those examined as successful models in this Forbes blog entry that measures their impact.

Lee Maen, a partner at LA’s Innovative Dining Group, concurs. "We see a lot of new faces and hear from them that they’ve been meaning to come in for a long time, and Restaurant Week gives them a great excuse to venture out of their normal restaurant routine."

Cities love it too. Kristen Linker of the Center City District in downtown Philadelphia says "Since its inception in 2003, Center City District Restaurant Week has generated over $23.9 million in additional revenues for the restaurants and pumped over $90.7 million into Center City Philadelphia’s economy."

Original source: Forbes
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Judge upholds Barnes move to Philadelphia

As construction on the Parkway wraps up, The Barnes Foundation has been given the judiciary green light to leave Lower Merion, according to the Associated Press.

Montgomery County Orphans Court Judge Stanley Ott ruled Thursday that there is no new evidence to consider.
Petitioners had asked Ott to re-examine his 2004 decision allowing the Barnes to leave its suburban home.

They contend the 2009 documentary "The Art of the Steal" includes new evidence that he didn't have when he originally ruled. But Ott disagrees.

Source: The Associated Press
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Mural Arts Month, of course, means rooftop dancing

October is Mural Arts Month, with 31 days of art activities and celebrations, as told by the Los Angeles Times.

Art is in the air in October as Philadelphia celebrates many of its more than 3,500 murals during Mural Arts Month.

What began in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network has blossomed into the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.  Muralist and founder Jane Golden redirected the energy and creativity of graffiti artists from marring neighborhood walls into murals, and the program now gives birth to about 150 murals a year. 

Highlights of "31 Days, 31 Ways: Art Ignites Change" include mural dedications, outdoor celebrations and free tours.

Source: Los Angeles Times
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Shaping our city: Philly's open spaces becoming a model

Philadelphia's rich landscape heritage makes for a city painted in shades of green, according to The Huffington Post.

The transformation of the urban core, as I've written before, is hot, hot, hot. Currently, there's a great deal of attention focused (justifiably) on the much-talked-about opening of the second phase of the much-talked-about High Line in New York, which has put yet more vim into that city's vigor. But if you want to see some serious va-va-voom, set your sites on Philadelphia (and don't get all snarky quoting W. C. Fields now). Philadelphia's exceptional array of parks and open spaces, and the visionary, entrepreneurial and civic-minded people behind them, is where to really see a city center in high gear (and the BYOB restaurant scene is taste bud nirvana).

For more than three centuries, city planning, landscape architecture and a unique civic ambition that emphasizes horticulture as much as the pedestrian experience in its public spaces and streetscapes, have made Philadelphia a fascinating city. From the five squares that were at the core of William Penn's 1683 plan to Dan Kiley's mid-20th-century design for Independence Mall, which connected Franklin Square to the north and Washington Square to the south, the city has a landscape heritage that few others can boast.

Source: The Huffington Post
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Is small town America really metropolitan America?

Last week we told you about the four suburban Philadelphia communities named to Money magazine's 100 Best Places to Live in America list. The New Republic looks at those same four hotspots as evidence of a shift in the way we live in post-recession America.

But Money is still wedded to the notion that our best places are “small towns,” without acknowledging the regional metropolitan economies--with distinctive economic clusters and amenities, unified housing and labor markets, and modern transportation networks--that determine their economic prosperity and popular appeal.

The magazine does implicitly recognize these metropolitan connections. Take the four new communities in this year’s list within in the resilient Philadelphia metro: West Goshen “gives residents a rural feel, yet good access to jobs,” given its proximity to Philadelphia; Horsham “lies with easy commuting distance of Philadelphia,” Ardmore is “just a few minutes from the city by rail,” and commuters from West Norriton “appreciate that it is 25 miles southwest of Philadelphia.”

It is time to acknowledge that these “small towns,” really suburbs and exurbs, are part of highly-connected and seamlessly-integrated metropolitan economies. The notion promoted by these kinds of “best places” lists--that “small towns” or “small cities” are self-sufficient islands--is fundamentally misguided. Families and firms choose these communities precisely because they benefit from the assets, attributes, and advantages of their broader metros.

Original source: The New Republic
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Philly ranks fifth among U.S. cities on Inc. 500 list

With 18 companies, the Philadelphia metro area ranked fifth on the recently released Inc. 500 list of America's fastest growing companies. The Philadelphia region placed nearly 150 companies among Inc.'s 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Flying Kite parent company Issue Media Group made the list for the second consecutive year, rating as the 25th-fastest growing media company in the country.

Here's Greater Philadelphia's fastest in the top 500 (percent growth, revenue in parentheses):

24 - re2g (7,493%, $10.6 million) PA
48 - Leadnomics (3,932%, $5.8 million) PA
67 - NextDocs (3,213%, $9.8 million) PA
123 - Petplan (2,207%, $18.7 million) PA
150 - Optimal Strategix Group (1,878%, $6.5 million) PA
151 - Free For All (1,871%, $2.5 million) NJ
182 - Magic Hat Consulting (1,669%, $3.4 million) PA
214 - Aromatic Fusion (1,455%, $5.3 million) PA
238 - Decision Distribution (1,335%, $34.5 million) PA
272 - Ohana Companies (1,187%, $8.4 million) DE

Original source: Inc. 500
Read the full story here.

Worldwide success, local backdrop for Lansdale-bred punk rockers The Wonder Years

The increasingly famous punk rockers from Lansdale, The Wonder Years, filmed their new music video in Philadelphia, which provided much inspiration for their newest full-length release Suburbia, according to Glasswerk National.

The Wonder Years have unveiled their new video for track "Local Man Ruins Everything". Filmed in the band's hometown of Philadelphia, PA, it includes locations that were inspired by and mentioned in their newest full-length Suburbia, I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing. The band are heading to the UK this September for a headline tour, following their stint earlier this year on the Kerrang! Tour. Dan "Soupy" Campbell of the band comments: "We're stoked to announce that, in support of our new record Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing, we'll be coming back to the UK! Even more exciting than that, we'll be bringing Such Gold and Valencia with us! It's going to be awesome and we hope to see you all there!"

Source: Glasswerk National (UK)
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78 Regionalism Articles | Page: | Show All
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