In 1961, Jane Jacobs wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities,
in which she proposed supporting neighborhoods' use of community-based initiatives.
Fast-forward 50 years, and urban planners are taking her observations into serious consideration, as evidenced by the city's comprehensive plan, Philadelphia2035,
to play up individual neighborhoods' strengths and improve upon their obstacles to connectivity and access.
Within the next few years, the planning commission will complete 18 district plans, which will incorporate many of the themes and objectives found in the overall citywide plan.
Currently, only three
of the 18 plans have been adopted. The most recent being the Lower Northeast District Plan
, which includes Frankford, Northwood, Summerdale, Lawncrest and Oxford Circle.
Saturday, Lower Northeast District Plan Project Manager Ian Litwin, other consultants and city employees held a community visioning workshop at Aria Health-Frankford to discuss ways to make Frankford, a major transit hub, more accessible.
Ideas for improvement
Highlights of the neighborhood walking tour included proposed changes to the Frankford Transportation Center, and Thriftway Grocery. The latter was dubbed uninviting because of its high iron gate in front of the entrance.
Three concepts for improvement were presented for comment, though the final design will incorporate elements from all three, including streetscape improvements like trees, lighting and signage.
“I wouldn't get too hung up on the concepts themselves since we will be testing the individual ideas and coming up with a composite plan in the coming months,” Litwin said.
Residents had their own ideas, too.
“I think there shouldn’t be any more barbershops or hair salons in the area," Frankford resident Doris Booker said. “We have way too many.” Booker said she likes coming to these meetings because it provides her an opportunity to know about what’s happening in the community.
Bridging a fractured community