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

Dreary East Market Street may be reactivated with the surprise move of the Inky/DN/ 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. ( One and
, 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. ( 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 hasn’t removed the Occupy Philly protestors yet…but they are stalling the exciting renovations to Dilworth Plaza (, 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)

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)


Skyline Stories: Maps, dead malls, suburban sprawl, IM Pei ‘s T6 at JFK, Philly’s Race Street Pier and Paris.

Rethinking lots of things — how to map contemporary cities (Atlantic Cities), the single-family post-war suburban home for a more sustainable future. (NYT: Opinionator) and even how future cities could be built around airports aka aerotropolis? (Streetsblog). But sprawl continues (Tree Hugger) and Americans are becoming less mobile (USA Today).

Ryan Sullivan's alternative maps open up a new way of thinking about places. Image via Atlantic Cities.

It wouldn’t be suburbia without abandoned malls (Design Observer) and their cookie cutter cinemas. Thank you Cinema Treasures for archiving all sorts of cinemas (NYT), though I wish the UAE had some microcinemas (NYT).

New York’s Skyscraper Museum has an exhibit on supertall skyscrapers. (Design Observer) But if you can build it tall, why can’t you build on the moon yet? (Atlantic Cities) Can you see rooftop QR codes from space? (Mashable)

BMW-Guggenheim’s Urban Lab is in New York for now (BBC), and the Queens Museum has an urban lab exhibit too (QM), but that can’t stop IM Pei’s understated Terminal 6 at JFK from being torn down. City Room says it’s the city’s biggest architectural loss since Penn Station. (NYT City Room)

At least some things are preserved in New York — check out the wonderful WPA Art Deco murals in New York’s central post office (Scouting NY) and the breathtaking restoration of the Loew’s King in Brooklyn, slated to reopen in 2013. (Architect’s Newspaper).

The 1929 Loew's King is undergoing a $70 million restoration project, slated to reopen in 2013. Image via Architect's Newspaper.

Uptown in The Bronx, the city’s new affordable housing harkens back to human-scale development (NYT ArtsBeat), though it won’t bring back Louis Mattia’s former lamp shop (JVNY). Moment of online silence for East Village blogger Roy Arihood, who died this week. (Gothamist)

In Philly, the Race Street Pier connector opened, linking Old City to the Race Street Pier Park! ( And the city is reinventing the Ben Franklin Parkway one small space at a time, this time with Sister Cities Plaza. ( Center City District seems to be taking pages out of William Whyte’s seminal film/book “Social Life of Small Urban Spaces” (1979). (Atlantic Cities)

In Paris, car sharing arrived (Atlantic Cities) in Paris! The Cite de l’Architecture du Patrimoine celebrated its fourth anniversary (Batiactu) and the ambitious “Grand Paris” plan is going to involve a lot of debating with communities (Le Monde).

How could you ever want to live in the suburbs when you have these poetic videos of exiting metro stations in New York and Paris? (The Atlantic: Cities)