Fri, 25 March 2011
Philadelphia has made extraordinary progress since 2007, when PennFuture and 130 other community, faith, environmental, business, and union organizations declared that the City of Brotherly Love could be the Next Great City if everyone worked together to create cleaner, safer & healthier neighborhoods.
To do that, the Next Great City Coalition (NGC) challenged all candidates for Philadelphia mayor to commit to 10 commonsense action steps that would improve the city. Since then, the coalition and Mayor Michael Nutter have accomplished nearly all the action steps outlined.
On St. Patrick's Day 2011, the Coalition launched Next Great City 2 -- bringing candidates for Philadelphia City Council into the NGC fold. This time, all City Council candidates are being asked to commit to 5 additional action steps.
This video podcast features that Campaign launch, which was held at the Academy of Natural Sciences, which is home -- as you will plainly hear -- to an African parrot who added its two cents to the event.
Fri, 25 June 2010
Greenworks Philadelphia, the plan to become the greenest city in the nation, is now one year old. June’s Urban Sustainability Forum featured three experts providing a review of exactly how successful that plan has been – PennFuture’s Director of Outreach Christine Knapp, Philadelphia’s Director of Sustainability Katherine Gajewski, and Adam Freed, deputy director of New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.
Fri, 9 October 2009
One of the toughest issues urban areas face is vacant land, and what can be done with that land. Sometimes the land was abandoned as families and businesses move on. Sometimes the ownership of the land was transferred to the city when taxes aren’t paid. But however the land becomes vacant, it creates problems for the city. Often overgrown with weeds, and full of trash, the vacant land becomes a blight on the city and drags down property values and quality of life for everyone who lives, works, or plays nearby.
Fortunately, Philadelphia is doing something about the problem. Our podcast this week is from the September 9, 2009 Urban Sustainability Forum, “No Vacancy: Reimaging Vacant Land in Philadelphia.” PennFuture’s Director of Outreach, Christine Knapp, finds out about Philadelphia’s plans from Terry Gillen, senior advisor to Mayor Nutter for economic development (and executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia) and Farah Jimenez, executive director of Mt. Airy•USA, a nonprofit real estate development corporation leading efforts to strengthen the residential and commercial environment in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. We then listen in to a presentation by Daniel T. Kildee, Genesee County (Michigan) treasurer, who discusses how the city of Flint Michigan handled its vacant land problem.
Did you know that PennFuture has staff throughout the state – in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, West Chester, and Wilkes-Barre? We’re ready to help you protect Pennsylvania’s environment and economy.
If you aren't already a member of PennFuture, what are you waiting for? PennFuture was called the state's "leading environmental advocacy organization" by the Philadelphia Inquirer. So join the leader on our secure website, and sign up for our publications. And remember, you can make sure you hear our podcasts first by subscribing to them through iTunes
Fri, 29 May 2009
Urban agriculture is not a contradiction in terms. It's alive and well in cities worldwide.
This podcast presents speakers from the Urban Sustainability Forum: “How can we feed Philadelphia? Growing the Grange,” held earlier this month at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly.
PennFuture’s Rachel Vassar interviews Marcia Caton Campbell, Program Director, Center for Resilient Cities in Milwaukee. The Center works to help residents and public servants create healthy, high-quality environments. They build the capacity of urban communities to create and preserve green infrastructure networks that improve the natural environment, citizen health, and economic opportunities.
We also hear from Ben Reynolds, Food Link Project Officer and Network Director of Sustain London. London Food Link works towards increasing the availability of sustainable food in London, tackling the barriers preventing access to healthy and sustainable food for all Londoner and protecting and celebrating London's diverse food culture.
You can join Philadelphia area residents who are working to build a greener, cleaner and more sustainable Philly by being part of the Next Great City initiative. Just go to the website and take the pledge to stay active and informed.
Fri, 8 May 2009
For decades the lack of a comprehensive plan to guide the creation of public amenities and private development has kept the Delaware riverfront from being all that it could be. But no more, thanks to citizens with a vision.
This podcast features some of the speakers from a public meeting held on April 21, 2009 by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission to consider accepting the Civic Vision for the Central Delaware as the framework for future planning. Adopting the Civic Vision will open portions of the river to residents for the first time in a lifetime, while improving the economic vitality of the area and the entire city as a result of increased neighborhood and riverfront attractiveness.
PennFuture’s Rachel Vassar first interviews Steven Weixler, chair of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group (CDAG), who discusses CDAG’s involvement the Civic Vision, and what the Civic Vision is. Next, Patrick Starr, senior vice president the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, discusses greenways, and the importance of the East Coast Greenway. Finally, Harris Steinberg, executive director of PennPraxis, the clinical arm of PennDesign, the School of Design for the University of Pennsylvania, talks about the importance of the Action Plan in moving the Vision forward. He urges listeners to get involved by attending public meetings at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, advocating building Pier 11 as a recreational pier, and participating in the Master Planning.
Fri, 17 April 2009
In March, Philadelphia's Urban Sustainability Forum centered on the multitude of green-minded projects, initiatives, and groups working throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods. PennFuture's Christine Knapp spoke with a few of the featured presenters.
Who's got the greenest block in all of Philadelphia? Bets are it's one of the communities in Sustainable 19125, or it soon will be. As Shanta Schachter, director of development and operations for the New Kensington Community Development Corporation explains, they are out to show the Next Great City that their zip code has sustainability cornered. Focusing on advocacy, policy and infrastructure, most of the ideas for these neighborhoods have grown up from the neighbors themselves, and are taking root in a big way.
How do you make positive change in your neighborhood? Start with who you know, the person right next door, and work your way out in concentric circles, advises Lara Kelly, co-chair of Northern Liberties Clean and Green. Home to Liberty Lands, the largest privately-owned park in the city, and perhaps the northeast, this group knows a thing or two about how to successfully nurture a green-up activity from idea to reality.
Helping Philadelphia community based organizations do just that-- make concepts fundable, bricks-and-mortar projects, is Beth Miller's Community Design Collaborative, linking planners, architects, and landscape architects with neighborhood groups. The Collaborative funds that critical first 10 percent of projects, to aid in putting designs on paper, so that groups can move forward in obtaining support for completion.
To learn more about the Next Great City initiative, visit our Web site. There, you can get more involved by making a donation or taking action.
Fri, 27 February 2009
This week’s podcast of Philadelphia’s Urban Sustainability Forum, held on February 19, answers the question, “Is sustainability just for good times?
With Philadelphia facing historic budget shortfalls (just like every other municipality), the forum shows how sustainability can be a solution, not an expense. Reducing energy use, developing new sources of clean energy, and creating green jobs are key components of the City of Brotherly Love’s plan to grow the economy while increasing sustainability.
Our guest interviewer, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Executive Director of the Sustainability Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, interviews the experts from the forum – PennFuture’s director of outreach Christine Knapp, Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, City Finance Officer Rob Dubow, and banker Frank Baldassare of E3 Bank.
Philadelphia is serious about growing green jobs. The city was the site of Vice President Joe Biden’s first meeting of the Middle Class Task Force, with green jobs as the prime focus, on February 27. Earlier in the day, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced more than $1.3 million in grants to the City of Philadelphia, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, and Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA). ECA will get the biggest portion, about $900,000, to turn the second floor of a former textile factory in Kensington into a school to teach skills for green jobs.
Wed, 8 August 2007
Decision making at the local level can have a strong impact on the quality of our air, water and visual environment. The 2007 Mayoral election in Philadelphia has seen the rise of environmental issues into prominence, causing most of the primary candidates to release their own plans to clean up the city - literally. The Next Great City initiative, spearheaded by PennFuture, played a large role in making that happen.
WHYY invited four panelists - Christine Knapp from Penn Future, Dr. Mary Myers of the Center for Sustainable Communities, Joe Minott from the Clean Air Council, and Mary Tracy of SCRUB (the Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight)- to outline a list of immediate priorities for the next mayor. These range from recycling, to rethinking storm water management to stricter enforcement of littering laws.
Check out the video here. Then leave us your comments by clicking on "Comments" below! We'd like to know your thoughts on Philadelphia, the Next Great City. To join the NGC e-mail update list, contact Christine Knapp at knapp (at) pennfuture (dot) org. To support our work in Philadelphia and statewide, visit our secure Web site to make a tax-deductible contribution.
Category:Philadelphia: The Next Great City -- posted at: 1:32 PM
Wed, 28 February 2007
We've brought you podcasts in the past from a variety of forums in Philadelphia, focusing on various aspects of how sustainable initiatives can and will improve the economy, quality of life, and natural environment in the Delaware Valley.
Then sit back with some popcorn and take a look at this video of the Philadelphia mayoral candidates' forum. It was the first time (and only, so far!) that all of the candidates have come together on one stage to debate and answer questions.
PennFuture's Christine Knapp provides an introduction to the forum, explaining the NGC process, highlighting the many varied endorsing organizations, and reviewing the 10 actions that comprise the NGC initiative.
Category:Philadelphia: The Next Great City -- posted at: 9:20 AM