PlanPhilly

Desolate to Dynamic

    • Jesus Sierra, courtesy of APM

How APM turned growing pains into gains

It is hard to imagine what Eastern North Philadelphia would look like today without Jesus Sierra, the city worker who in 1970 founded Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha and built it into…

    • Tire swings hang from trees at a small park on 5th street near York and Dauphin.

Special Report: How the city serves Eastern North Philadelphia

The handball court on the 2300 block of N. 5th Street is not much to look at. Weeds grow out of cracks in the pavement. The tiny playground beside the court…

    • Mural at N. 6th St. (photo by Neal Santos)

The rewards of redevelopment: stabilization and safety

A five-minute tour of Eastern North Philadelphia is enough to convince most anyone that the neighborhood is on the rebound: the abundance of newly built homes and cleaned and greened lots…

    • An overhead view of the APM area, specifically focused on the corner of 8th and Berks where APM's Pradera developments stand.

Special Report: A surprising mix of bricks, mortar and imagination

On a six-block stretch of Berks Street just east of Temple University, the past, present and future of low-income architecture and urban planning is on display. It is a mixed picture.…

    • Special Report: APM set its own rules

Special Report: APM set its own rules

In a city like Philadelphia, where big deals still get hammered out in back rooms and close ties to politicians are a basic part of doing business, even the well intentioned…

    • Customers smile while waiting in line at the deli at Cousin's supermarket

Special Report: A new face on race relations

In the 1970s the city of Philadelphia was less a melting pot than a cauldron: a combustible mix of ethnic and racial tension, economic collapse and an aggressive police force that…

    • Kroc Center site

Vacancy victories are rare, but city says reform is coming

For experienced and savvy developers like Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, navigating Philadelphia's bewildering system for acquiring and developing vacant land is a tedious chore, but doable. For developers who are…

    • A wider view of the lot at 6th and Diamond.

Special Report: Vacant land, focused plans

In the 1990s, the best that could be said of Eastern North Philadelphia was that there was almost nothing there. Acres of vacant land stretched in all directions, the empty expanse…

About This Series
    • Norma Morales, administrative assistant in Councilman Darrel Clark's office.
      Norma Morales, administrative assistant in Councilman Darrel Clark's office.
    • 1917 N. 8th St. in 1998
      1917 N. 8th St. in 1998
    • The facade of the Maas building, which is a mixed use facility that houses office space and a rental facility for events.
      The facade of the Maas building, which is a mixed use facility that houses office space and a rental facility for events.
    • A formerly vacant property was rebuilt with a make-shift garage at 1936 N. 4th St.
      A formerly vacant property was rebuilt with a make-shift garage at 1936 N. 4th St.
    • Ben Riesman, co-owns the Maas Building with his wife, which is located on1320 N. 5th street in lower eastern north Philadelphia.
      Ben Riesman, co-owns the Maas Building with his wife, which is located on1320 N. 5th street in lower eastern north Philadelphia.
    • 1936 N. 4th St. in 1998
      1936 N. 4th St. in 1998
    • Mayor Nutter adjusts his glasses as he discusses the role CDCs play in neighborhood redevelopment.
      Mayor Nutter adjusts his glasses as he discusses the role CDCs play in neighborhood redevelopment.
    • Morales, brushing her hair inside of her Pradera II style townhome which she purchased from APM.
      Morales, brushing her hair inside of her Pradera II style townhome which she purchased from APM.
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In the coming months, PlanPhilly will publish a series of reports on the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha and its role in Eastern North Philadelphia’s revival. Among other topics, the stories will cover the experiences of the area’s residents, the politics and racial dynamics of urban recovery, the design and architecture of low-income developments, and the massive investment of taxpayer funds that enabled the neighborhood’s transformation. The writing, video and photography that comprised this series is made possible by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

 

Reporting: Patrick Kerkstra

Photography and video: Neal Santos

Art direction and interactive: Brian James Kirk

Editing: Matt Golas

Videos in this Series

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