Monday, March 21, 2011

Help plan for Philadelphia's future

Last week, the Mayor's office released the draft of its Philadelphia2035 comprehensive plan, the city's first comprehensive plan in nearly 50 years. The plan is part of an overall "Integrative Planning and Zoning Process" that will look at how the city will grow and develop over the next quarter-century. The process, which began in 2007 following a voter referendum establishing the Zoning Code Commission, seeks to update the city's antiquated zoning laws to better suit the city in the twenty-first century.

Philadelphia2035 supports the construction of Complete Streets
The plan includes a "Connect" chapter that sets goals for transportation and infrastructure planning. It includes a section on Complete Streets that supports bicyclist and pedestrian safety and expands on- and off-street networks serving cyclists and pedestrians.

Last week's draft is the first of a multi-step process that will gather input from community groups and citizens from around the city. After the final citywide plan comes out this coming June, the Commission will turn its focus to eighteen "District Plans" over the next five years. These will coordinate previous neighborhood plans and seek to improve both community health and public services.

The first four district plans, set to be completed in year one of this effort, are West Park, Central, Lower South, and Lower Southwest Philadelphia. You can check out a map and timeline for all districts here.

Philadelphia2035 is closely involved with the Philadelphia Citizen Planning Institute, which hosts courses on community planning. The classes teach the history of the city's growth and development, how land-use and zoning work, what factors influence development, and how to advocate for a safe, sustainable, and prosperous plan for Philadlphia's future. At the end of the course, participants earn a "Citizen Planner" certificate and have the tools and knowledge necessary to help shape the plan for their neighborhood and the city as a whole.

Right now, the Citizen Planning Institute is accepting applications now for their Spring 2011 course.  All you have to do is download the application and return it by April 8 for consideration. The basic course costs just $30, and it will give you the opportunity to take part in planning for Philadelphia's future.

Finally, this Wednesday (March 23rd) the city is hosting an Open House to educate citizens and answer questions about the draft plan. Feel free to stop in to talk to city planners about their goals and find out more about how you can get involved.
Citywide Plan Open House
March 23, 2011, 3:30-7:30pm
Center for Architecture
1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia

Blog post written by guest blogger Gregory Anderson