For those of you who keep up with local Philadelphia development news, you've probably heard about ongoing discussions/meetings regarding a long-term plan for the Delaware River waterfront.
The last time Philadelphia discussed detailed plans for our "Workshop of the World's" old back yard, it was 1982. 25 years later in 2007, the Street administration hired Penn Praxis (a design affiliate of UPenn) to formulate a master plan for this 6 mile stretch of underutilized waterfront land. Street laid the foundation, and Nutter has now been running with the baton. He helped form the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation in 2009 to help organize not only the companies laying out the master plan, but also Philadelphia citizens for first hand input on what they would like their new waterfront to look like.
What everyone came up with was a mix of low-rise residential neighborhoods, accompanied by commercial/cultural buildings, and connected by a necklace of 10 urban parks spread about 1/2 mile apart from one another; on top of all that, they want to connect everything with a walking/biking path. Pretty cool, huh? This plan has been modeled after the successful Battery Park City project in NYC and is expected to take anywhere from 30-50 years to fully develop.
Despite the current tough economy and a drawn out completion time line, PP has suggested that the City jump-start this plan by investing in a few high-impact projects that would help "set the stage" for smart, functional, and economical long-term development. One of the most dramatic projects suggested would be a full revamp of the existing Penn's Landing area between Walnut & Chestnut streets.
Rather than have me describe this plan in further detail, please read Inga Saffron's (Inquirer Architecture Critic) excellent article focusing on this project. If you would like to learn more about Penn Praxis, please click here.