Peter linked to this story which recommends transforming Philadelphia’s “food production, energy generation, land use and transportation”. This struck me because I recently wrote about Camden, NJ and recommended a similar (but in a much less detailed fashion) plan of action. Now, you may not know this but Camden is right across the Delaware river from Philadelphia (Literally). If I may be allowed to dream, how great would it be to take Mr. McDonald’s ideas and create a combined plan for Camden and Philadelphia?
As I was reading Peter Kalm’s travels in and around the Philadelphia area in the mid-18th century (uh, that’s when he wrote it not when I read it) he frequently remarked how productive the land was. I’m sure if we could get planners and residents to stop thinking about cities in mid-20th century ways and embrace new models we could end up with self-sustaining engines for economic growth (ugh, that sounds like some consulting firm pitching a multi-million dollar boondoggle of a revitalization plan). So here’s how MacDonald sums it up:
We need to see Philadelphia with fresh eyes, and recognize that in a world of soaring costs to build new infrastructure, the City of Brotherly Love is a treasure trove of land, housing stock, and commercial architecture all tied together by a massive rail network and a waterway. What’s not to like? As usual, the artists know a good thing when they see it, and they move in early to make their score. If Philadelphia would adopt FEW as its core strategy, it could potentially leap-frog ahead of other cities. Some of those cities will waste years and capital trying to retain alot of systems that are naturally ebbing away. Other US cities are either not on waterways, or face a topography almost barren of rail transport