July 7: Construction strike ends | North Philly Peace Park | Atlas: 19th century Facebook

The General Building Contractors Association and the local operating engineers union have reached a tentative agreement, ending the strike that halted construction last week, Curbed Philadelphia’s Melissa Romero reports. The two groups met for five hours over contract negotiations before the union decided to resume work.

North Philly Peace Park has “has achieved a long-term, multi-decade lease from the Philadelphia Housing Authority and has conclusively secured the park’s recognition as a permanent community-controlled green space in Sharswood,” writes Generocity's Albert Hong. The Peace Park and PHA have battled for months over the fate of the garden in the midst of the city’s neighborhood transformation plan before reaching this "historic resolution."

The local artist community continues to offer temporary homes to the recently displaced Vox collective of galleries and artists, WHYY’s Peter Crimmins reports. The collection of galleries, which “found strength in their proximity to each other,” hopes to use the fire and subsequent displacement as an opportunity to facilitate public discussions about “the value of artist spaces in a quickly evolving city.”

Four organizations in southwestern Pennsylvania have received $1.8 million from the EPA to assess brownfield sites, the Post-Gazette reports. The federal funds will finance site evaluations, contamination testing, and cleanup projects. In a news release, EPA head Scott Pruitt said that the grants are “reserved for areas that are ‘economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed.’ ”

An Illinois county atlas published in 1874 paints a picturesque biography of 19th century rural America, writes National Geographic’s All Over the Map’s Greg Miller. The dreamy atlas, which nominally served to identify property ownership, also served as the 19th century facebook, with elaborate stories, “an artist’s rendering of their farm, family, or prize pig included for all their neighbors to see.”

About the author

Diana Lu, Community Engagement Editor

Diana runs PlanPhilly’s community outreach and engagement online and in real life. She has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho and email her at

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