"Opportunity sites" include rec centers, public vacant land, schoolyards, and the more than 30,000 parcels of vacant land owned by the private sector. In total, they add up to more than 4,000 acres. Even with the 1,200 or so required for future housing needs, Steinberg pointed out, in a nod to those who might view this project as anti-development, that left plenty of room for 500 acres of new parks, trails, and open space.
Further, he added, "we're well on our way," with 100 acres currently under development and another 105 planned, including projects at the Navy Yard and a plan to extend the Schuylkill River trail. He ended his presentation with a "someday" vision of a 20-mile walk from Mill Creek in West Philadelphia to the area around Franklin Mills mall in the Northeast. The imaginary walk included newly-greened historic stream beds, rail lines, and industrial sites.
DiBerardinis concluded the evening by calling Green 2015 a "bold, smart, and do-able" plan that would not only provide access, but will improve the city's ecosystem and improve its economic competitiveness. He then reiterated the plan's "shop in your own closet" approach, its acknowledgement of what's most important to citizens — that spaces be safe, clean, and ready to use — and its reliance on partnerships with private corporations, institutions like the city's universities, and public and quasi-governmental agencies like Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., Philadelphia Water Department, and the School District.
In case everyone wasn't already feeling pretty good — despite the evening's frigid cold — DiBerardinis then exhorted a coterie of nine citizens to take the stage for a walk-off photo op. "I live in Roxborough — and that's my park," said one, accompanied by an image of Gorgas Park. "I live in West Oak Lane — and I don't have a park," said another. "I work in North Philadelphia — and we're building a park," said a third.
The ebullient crowd then pushed its way into the Academy's halls, where a Resource Fair — sporting tables from about two dozen organizations, such as PennDOT, Pennsylvania Environmental Center, Delaware River City Corp. — was waiting amidst the taxidermed bison and reassembled dinosaurs. Catherine Smith of Queen Village, a regular Urban Sustainability Forum attendee, said the event made her "feel lucky" about the rich resources of her neighborhood. "This was a very interesting presentation," she added. "It had a lot of content, and it was nice to see the unrolling of an actual plan."
Off to the side, two students pursuing their Masters of Sustainable Design at Philadelphia University discussed the evening. Gage Duran said the PennPraxis approach "made sense" and that it was good to see the group present a plan "that people can gather around." His friend, Jason Sandman, took up that note. "I just want to see them being realistic," he said.
But Nina Bisbee, who works in facilities planning at the Philadelphia Zoo, said she "was impressed" by how integrated the plan appeared. "I think it's do-able, and that's really important that it come across that way," she added.
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