PlanPhilly

Planning

    • 4th and Bainbridge streets, Photo by Eyes on the Street

An education in how to be a better neighborhood advocate

Learning how Philly government works can be a circuitous and sometimes frustrating thing. In my experience, it takes years. It takes walking the halls of City Hall, hours of random conversations…

    • A poster board with residents' comments at SEPTA's Route 49 open house last year

In Philly, planners increasingly want to talk with you, not at you

Public planning meetings can be contentious, to say the least. Randy LoBasso would know. As the communications director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, he attends a lot of these…

    • Society Hill

A master plan for Society Hill proposes new design guidelines -- and downzoning

The Society Hill Civic Association has presented a new master plan to the city’s Planning Commission, a proposal encompassing both an innovative way to manage the open space that laces throughout…

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ABOUT PLANNING

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

UPCOMING EVENTS IN PLANNING

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