• Live! Hotel and Casino, 10th Street Parking Lot | BLT Architects

Commission approves master plan for South Philly casino

The City Planning Commission voted on Tuesday to approve a master plan for the proposed Live! Hotel and Casino planned for the sports complex in South Philadelphia. The Commission’s approval was…

    • Traffic on the Parkway

Recent studies: Americans are definitely, maybe (not) driving less

The latest report out of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute shows that the U.S. hit peak car, or the apotheosis of American automobile dependency, a decade ago. This report…

    • Alan Butkovitz

Butkovitz reports businesses frustrated with papal visit logistics

City Controller Alan Butkovitz held a press conference today to criticize Mayor Michael Nutter’s communications with businesses in advance of the papal visit. Citing a survey of hospitality businesses located within…



Urban planning is relatively new as an official profession, but most settlements and cities were created with varying degrees of consideration for layout and functionality.  All cities have been shaped and reshaped, from their street fabric to the details of the sewer lines all elements of the city are brought together into a cohesive whole.

It is not something we’re always conscious of, but our lives are shaped by urban planning – how far we live from our work, what transportation we use to get around, the size of our neighborhood park (if we have one), etc. Literacy in many different disciplines is required in order to shape the built environment, but planning mainly focuses on the integration of land use and transportation needs.

What constitutes good city planning has evolved over the years. For example, the urban renewal movement of the mid 20th century used eminent domain to tear down thousands of blocks of structures because they were considered slums. Many people were displaced without relocation plans from their neighborhoods, many of which would have likely been reborn today considering the trends of many current downtown renewal projects. Further, land that was once agricultural suddenly became ripe for residential development once a large-capacity road was built nearby, which has slowly deflated America’s farming industries.

There are many elements that factor into city planning processes.  They include:

  • Design/aesthetics
  • Safety/crime
  • Environmental sustainability and energy consumption
  • Transportation
  • Community involvement and input in the planning process



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