Environment & Sustainability

    • Dr. Hall measuring lead levels with a portable x-ray fluorescence machine that detects lead levels in solids.

New map shows lead's poisonous path

Lead-based paint poisons more Philadelphians than any other source of the toxic metal, according to Philadelphia Health Department. But kids and adults can also ingest the dangerous substance through dirt, dust…

    • The Greenworks magazine includes tips for urban farming and soil safety | Ali Mendelson

Why Philly's sustainability czar published a magazine about neighborhood life instead of another boring report on climate change

Words, not numbers, quanitify the impact of 14 months of work on Philadelphia's Greenworks sustainability agenda. Instead of the usual chart-heavy PDF loaded with statistics and metrics, the city has released…

    • Navy Yard

The Navy Yard unveils new addition to Philly's first energy "microgrid"

The Navy Yard can now power itself with a new $11 million natural gas-fired peaker plant designed to keep the growing commercial district lit and live even in emergencies, Hidden City…



Sustainable development and sustainability have become important concepts in today’s planning world.  Efforts in this area are based on the recognition that current consumption and living habits may be leading to problems such as the overuse of natural resources, ecosystem destruction, urban heat islands, pollution, growing social inequality and large-scale climate change. The idea of sustainability is new and many question its value because of the tendency of politicians and others to use it as a buzzword without much meaning behind it.  When most people refer to cities that are more sustainable or energy-efficient, they typically refer to such qualities as: compact, efficient land use, less automobile use with better access by foot, transit and bike, efficient resource use, less pollution and waste, the restoration of natural systems, good housing and living environments, a healthy social ecology, sustainable economics, community participation and involvement, and preservation of local culture.  Sustainable design practices are becoming increasingly common in new development projects, but how to modify existing urban and suburban conditions with sustainable considerations remains a challenge.



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