August 2: Rebel Ventures | Frankford Chocolate Factory | Minimum wage, purchasing power

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has issued a code orange air quality alert for Philadelphia due to high concentrations of pollutants in the air. The National Weather Service forecasts 90 degree heat, high humidity, and possible flooding from storms.

The Philadelphia Citizen’s Quinn O'Callaghan covers the recent improvement efforts in Mifflin Square Park in South Philadelphia. O'Callaghan highlights in particular the work of the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition (SEAMAAC) and the organization’s vision for the Cambodia Town neighborhood. The neighbors who live around the park speak 21 different languages; Catalina Jaramillo covers the planning and engagement process in reimagining the space.

It’s time to raise the minimum wage, writes the Inquirer’s editorial board. As today’s minimum wage has lost purchasing power over time, consumers are digging themselves into debt to cover basic expenses; the editorial board cites a report by the Economic Policy Institute that examines costs of raising the minimum wage, the workers’ growing productivity versus spending power, and social programs.

Aaron Kase, contributing to WHYY’S Speakeasy, covers Rebel Ventures, a youth-centric business that develops healthy snacks served by the school district and other venues around the city. Kase and several Rebel Ventures’ youth employees discuss food insecurity and food access in Philadelphia.

More than 200 neighbors, preservationists, and developers gathered to discuss the future of the Frankford Chocolate Factory on Washington Avenue, Curbed Philly’s Karen Chernick reports. The meeting, led by the South of South Neighborhood Association, gave space for neighbors to share their thoughts on the site’s potential for the former industrial corridor with architect Cecil Baker.

Pittsburgh is still on top of the self-driving car game, argues Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Aaron Aupperlee. Refuting the San Francisco Chronicle’s declaration that the Bay Area now reigns supreme, Auperlee cites on NPR’s Morning Edition that 1) Pittsburgh was first, 2) Uber chose the city for testing, 3) top talent, 4) city-led support system, and 5) researchers are looking towards the future. 

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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