• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

Streetviews: Q&A with Azavea's Robert Cheetham

For this week’s Streetviews Q&A we sat down with Robert Cheetham, founder of the civic minded geospatial and software firm Azavea, about the big opportunities ahead in open data as an engine for growth, designing Philly for a greener and less car-centric future, and reactivating our slumbering historic assets.


  • Robert Cheetham: Founder and CEO of Azavea
  • Work Neighborhood: Callowhill
  • Home Neighborhood: Spring Garden
  • Local Landmark: The Reading Viaduct, visible from Azavea’s offices, because it “represents both the promise and opportunity that Philadelphia has as a former industrial city that is remaking itself for the 21st century.”
  • Philly in three words: Walkable. Gritty. Endlessly mysterious.  “What I mean by the third is the endless series of secretes that Philadelphia has behind the bland brick row house façade, wonderful tiny museums like the Rosenbach hidden on the residential side street, the music salons that exists in many homes all over the city, the many secret gardens behind the row house.  These are one of the most wonderful surprising and I think it’s about Philadelphia and they make it a really rich place.”
  • Civic Heroes: “People that work in the city government that are incredibly talented, dedicated, and are probably the one thing that keeps the government moving forward.” Among them:  Marion Storey at the Streets Department, Charlie Brennan who was formerly with the Police Department, and Joanne Dahme at the Water Department. 

Interviewed winter 2015.

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn is an independent writer with a background in historic preservation and city planning. She started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from 2015-2017. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York. She is a Philadelphian by choice.

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.


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