Last year, the City released Phila2035, a comprehensive plan for shaping the city for the next 25 years. Sure, sounds great. But how?

Plan for the future

Adopted by the City Planning Commission last June, the plans were organized into four chapters, defining the context, building on our strengths, framing our future, and making it happen. Simple enough? Filtering down from the citywide version, Phila2035 has divided the city into 18 districts, decreeing a plan that incorporates collaboration between residents, community organizations and city officials.

This month marks the first planning meetings for the Central district, an area that includes, Northern Liberties, East Poplar, West Poplar, Callowhill, Old City, Chinatown, Society Hill, Washington Square West, Queen Village, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Francisville, Fairmount, Spring Garden, Logan Square, Rittenhouse Square and Southwest Center City. Yes, just about every part of Center City and its outlying neighborhoods have been tossed in one Central District salad. It’s going to take proactive efforts from citizens, who may best have their voices considered by collaborating with local neighborhood organizations, to attempt to make this planning into something viable, and not just something beautiful but too big and far-reaching to be attainable.

Central district map

Two plans—West Park (northern part of West Philly, including the western side of Fairmount Park) and Lower South (exactly what it sounds like)—have already been adopted by the Planning Commission. According to the Phila2035 website, key issues in the Central Plan include its residential neighborhoods, the many retail locations throughout, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, connections to commercial areas and Temple University and University City, and development of the Schuylkill and Delaware Riverfronts.

Tonight is the second public meeting for the Central Plan, at the Hamilton Garden at the Kimmel Center at
300 S. Broad Street. The meeting goes from 5:30 til 7:30. If you want to have a say in the planning for greater Center City in the decades to come, check it out!

–Lou Mancinelli