Greetings, all. We here at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) thought it was about time we jumped into the blogosphere. We do so not because we perceive a void in the coverage of planning and development stories in this city. Quite the contrary. We could not be more proud, impressed, and sometimes frankly mystified as to Philadelphians’ seemingly boundless appetite for news about the smallest bits of plannerly minutia. We also can’t say we’re doing this for lack of other things on our plate. No, we are running on all cylinders around here these days, trying everyday to play a more productive, proactive, and policy-driven role in the shaping of Philadelphia’s built environment. But more on this later.
The question we’re crossing off of our list today is, “Why do we feel it necessary to expand our online presence?” The reasons are myriad Really, there are three big reasons:
1) We aspire to ever greater transparency for ourselves and all of Philadelphia government.
Blogging is another tool for sharing what we do, why we do it, and when, how, and where it might affect you as a resident, developer, business owner, or civic leader.
2) As the PCPC continues to refine its role in Philly’s planning and development world, we need to join (and often, lead) the discussion.
The City Charter says it best: we’re here to guide the orderly growth and development of Philadelphia. Communicating about our work, explaining regulatory processes, clarifying policy, and weighing in on projects big and small is a necessary part of this that we’re eager to improve.
3) This city has a new Comprehensive Plan, and that means something.
We know you’re not used to it, and that’s cool. Neither are we, frankly. And even some of our colleagues in government get confused sometimes when we talk about it (“you want our decision to consider the what?”). Philadelphia2035 – that’s its name, if you haven’t met yet – is the first time in about 60 years that we as a government and a civic community have stopped, taken a deep breath, and looked thoughtfully and holistically at where we want all of Philadelphia to go, and how we want to get it there. It’s a big undertaking, but the way we get there is paved with thousands of smaller decisions about our streets, buildings, parks, and other public spaces. Understanding the relationship of the day-to-day and the bigger picture is vitally important if we are to have a meaningful dialog about moving towards a bigger, better Philadelphia. That’s what we’re all about here at PCPC, so if you feel us on that, we hope you’ll keep reading.