Skyline Stories: Philly’s Income Gap, Shane’s Candies, Inquirer Building

Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs have seen among the largest change in income segregation since 1970. / Image via NYT.

Stunning maps in the Times — illustrating how the Philadelphia metropolitan region has the highest rate of income inequality and segregation since 1970. Hard to believe, especially as Philly has faced gentrification over the past 20 years…but wow, it’s amazing to see how the rich have fled to Old City/Center City, but even more so to the outer-ring suburbs and exurbs. (NYT)

In Old City, Franklin Fountain’s Berley Brothers continue their cultural — just renovated the historic Shane’s Candies and it sounds amazing! Hard to believe that before the Ben Franklin Bridge opened in 1926, 20,000 people walked past the store every day after crossing the Delaware River on ferry. (PlanPhilly and Philly.com)

Dreary East Market Street may be reactivated with the surprise move of the Inky/DN/Philly.com from their stunning North Broad Street skyscraper (the “shining white knight” looming over City Hall, per Inky architecture critic Inga Saffron) to the renovated former Strawbridge and Clothier building. (Philly.com: One and
Two
, Naked Philly and That’s the Press, Baby) … What other buildings are endangered? Check out SOS’ annual list. (PlanPhilly)

In transit news, SEPTA chose ACS to design its new $130 million contactless fare payment system, slated for 2013. (Philly.com) They’ve also done EZ-Pass and as I covered previously, are working on Abu Dhabi’s upcoming payment system. Meanwhile PATCO hired a new GM, choosing longtime internal candidate John Rink, a Camden County mayor who would oversee possible expansion on Delaware Avenue, renovating the Franklin Square station and rebuilding the trains. (Philly.com)

Philly hasn’t removed the Occupy Philly protestors yet…but they are stalling the exciting renovations to Dilworth Plaza (Philly.com), which the Center City District just awarded to Keating (PlanPhilly). But it’s disappointing that the City Planning Commission approved SugarHouse Casino’s expansion. (PlanPhilly) …Surprisingly, Philly tops the country in best clean water through a variety of programs. (The Atlantic: Cities)

Shane's Candies recently reopened after a stunning renovation by the Berley Brothers, owners of the nearby Franklin Fountain. / Image via PlanPhilly.

Circling back to suburban sprawl, nationwide it’s destroying communities — from Florida (Streetsblog: DC) to Phoenix (Design Observer) to New England (The Atlantic: Cities). Now 1/3 of Americans live in or near poverty, with half of them trapped in suburbs. (NYT)

But solutions are slow or not there — the federal budget eliminated funding for high speed rail and sustainable communities, rail cut big, but at least New Starts and TIGER were saved. (Streetsblog D.C.) Times highlights great ideas for improving mass transit: residents plan routes to connect houses to job centers, van pools and nationwide commuting bank in which you gain credits for car-sharing. (NYT: Opinionator) The era of owning houses should end, too. (The Atlantic: Cities)

Maybe we just need more women planners, who tend to think small-scale rather than large-scale. (The Atlantic: Cities)

In Brooklyn…the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) is tackling public housing in Brownsville, where a century ago my ancestors lived. (MAS), and the recently opened Brooklyn Navy Yard sounds really cool! (L Magazine)

Worldwide…
Urban planners from Venice and the Netherlands are helping Thailand protect its ancient city of Ayutthaya recover from flood waters. (AP)

France’s southern port city of Marseille has a cool mix of cultures. (Times Magazine) … Fight to save the historic old neighborhood of Panama City. (The Atlantic: Cities) … Post-apartheid Soweto is slowly healing the spatial gaps. (Design Observer) … Great photos of 9/11 at the ICP. (ICP)

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