The special guest was Greg Nickels, the former mayor of Seattle (2002 through 2010), who had undertaken a similar study during his administration.
“I congratulate you on doing this,” Nickels said. “I’m very pleased that you’re asking the right questions, going through a very similar process that we went through where we asked our Planning Commission, ‘Just what is our future that you see?’ We brought in developers landowners and asked those questions, and at the end of the day we had a strategy that worked for us.”
Commentators at the end of the morning were John Landis, chair of City and Regional Planning at PennDesign; Brian Cohen of Liberty Property Trust (the company that is redeveloping the Navy Yard with PIDC); Ned Rauch-Mannino of the Urban Industry Initiative; Matt Pappajohn, a custom woodworker with a small company in the city’s Frankford section; and Paul Parkhill, a director at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center in Brooklyn. Moderating the event was Laura Wolf-Powers, assistant professor of city and regional planning at Penn.
“Thinking about how to grow – that’s not something we’re used to doing,” said Steve Wray, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.
Wray started the morning by stressing the importance of a fresh, innovative approach to business and economic development, and a description of Economy League efforts at “alternative histories of the future” to make for a “world-class Greater Philadelphia.”
The Economy League in recent years has worked with PIDC on a study of Philadelphia’s ports and their potential, and tackled subjects as broad as “green infrastructure,” the “knowledge industry” of our colleges and universities and the city’s state of entrepreneurship.
Contact the reporter at email@example.com(NOTE: Our apologies for the weak audio with the above videos – the participants did not use microphones, and the Flip camera’s acoustic capability is evidently in proportion to its size. – TJW)