• Public Safety Services Campus | Ballinger

City commissioning new public art at 46th and Market

The long-anticipated conversion of the huge the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building will also recast the relationship of the 13-acre site to the neighborhood. Designers showed plans for the historic building…

    • An access trail leads from Orthodox Street to the Delaware River through the former Coke Company site. | Bradley Maule

Recommendations made for key North Delaware brownfields sites

The former Philadelphia Coke Co. site in Bridesburg should be redeveloped as a mix of industrial, commercial, residential, and open-space uses, a new report concludes. The site, a 67-acre parcel that’s…

    • callowhill2

Commission approves new zoning maps for Chinatown North, west Market Street, Roxborough

The area surrounding the Reading Viaduct, which is slowly being converted into an elevated park, is preparing for an influx of development interest. On Tuesday, the Planning Commission recommended approval of…



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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