Planning Under Attack
Forbes hates comp planning
Do you think they’re right?
Canal Street project
5 hour hearing this week
Decision yet to be made
New York launches soon
Who should sponsor ours?
Did everyone enjoy Philly Tech Week? Are you impressed with Philadelphia’s leadership in open data? If so, then you’ll love Cultureblocks!
This had not been on our radar screen until recently. Essentially, Cultureblocks maps our creative economy: arts organizations, grant recipients, etc. What makes it even more interesting to us planners is that it also allows you to overlay that arts information with other indicators, like demographics, or even zoning! This free tool has the potential to help all different types of organizations understand opportunities for investment and to start to understand trends in terms of where the creative economy is and where it’s going.
Check it out, and tell us what you think!
Call us a bunch of YIMBYs! Steel can’t be much more than a week away from obstructing our admittedly rockin’ view of points NE, E, and SE from our trusty stomping grounds. While this limits our ability to strike pensive poses with any real conviction – note to self: reschedule photoshoot for autobiography – it is a great example of planning in real life! By that we mean that it is no accident that the Family Court Building is going where it is. This new facility allows the city to play a bit of real estate musical chairs:
The smart disposition and reorganization of public land and assets is something that comes up a lot, particularly in the Central District Plan, where we have some major opportunities to redevelop valuable properties near Franklin Square and on Broad Street. More thoughts on those big moves soon.
Many of you know that the zoning code encourages or requires commercial uses on the ground floors of buildings in various zoning districts. As a blanket statement, mixing uses is a good thing, for reasons that we think most people reading this would be able to provide. Of course, we see with some frequency in Philadelphia those areas where there’s a zoning mismatch in either direction. The first scenario is high supply, low demand: neighborhoods with significant population decline or a loss in median income levels now have reduced spending power and cannot support as much commerce as it once could. The second is low supply, high demand: this often happens in areas where the population is growing, or new development has created a destination that draws lots of people. As an area becomes denser or more frequently frequented, we find that there’s a lack of retail options to meet consumer demand.
We bring this up because there’s been a lot of recent announcements about tenants signing leases for retail spaces in projects currently under development. In most cases, the conditions that make these projects viable in the first place (to finance and build, that is) indicate that there’s not going to be a lack of interest on the part of store and restaurant owners…though that pesky market can be hard to predict sometimes. We thought we’d do a little tour of recent and current developments, take our best guess, and ask to hear from you: what do you think will fill these spaces? What do you hope would fill them, or wish that they might have? Can you think of future developments that might change the tenant mix again? Read on, and let us know: READ MORE
Earlier today, we felt like asking a question about neighborhood retail, namely, are you being served? We’re curious because the district planning process has included an exhaustive update of our commercial corridor surveys, so we’re getting a better handle on the growth, shrinkage, diversification, and stagnation of various shopping locales across Philadelphia. All well and good – everybody loves data! – but most fundamentally, it’s about the user experience.
Which brings us to our next question: