Philly Trying to Improve Green Infrastructure @ Low Cost
The Inquirer has an article discussing the Green 2015 plan being unveiled this week in Philadelphia. [Click HERE for the full story.] The City is seeking to improve residents’ quality of life by increasing their access to green spaces throughout its neighborhoods and to improve storm water management at the same time.
According to the Inquirer:
The plan’s strategy is purposely structured to allow the city to tackle a variety of other urban problems simultaneously. By distributing pocket parks around the city, Green2015 could help Philadelphia provide more play space in underserved neighborhoods, combat childhood obesity by creating exercise space, reduce polluting water runoff reaching the city’s rivers, raise property values, and attract new development.
The City is hoping to save money by greening property it already holds, rather than expending funds to acquire additional space.
PennPraxis director Harris Steinberg, who prepared the report, explained that Green2015 intentionally relies on a shop-your-closet philosophy because Philadelphia has so little money to invest in public amenities. Almost no land would be purchased to meet Nutter’s 500-acre goal. The report includes a priority list of city-owned, ready-to-green spaces.
The consultants recommend that the Nutter administration start by breaking up unused concrete and asphalt at the city’s schools and rec centers, since they are already a convenient draw for neighborhood children.
The Fairmount Park system, at 9,995 acres, is a tremendous green asset for the city, but as the article points out, it is (perhaps to state the obvious) all in one place, which is great if you have easy access to it, but not as helpful if you don’t (again, stating the obvious).
“We’ve always talked about how much parkland we have in Philadelphia, but the problem is that it is all in one place,” said Shawn D. McCaney, a program director at the William Penn Foundation, which helped fund Green2015.
Philadelphia has some great, green public spaces (Fairmount Park system, Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square in Old City, Clark Park in University City), but there’s plenty of blacktop between these destinations. If the City is able to create some green stop-overs in between, more power to them.