Tag Archives: Philadelphia

As Construction Booms, Philadelphia Seeks to Preserve Its Past – The New York Times

The Divine Lorraine Hotel, a 19th-century North Philadelphia building that had fallen into disrepair, has been rehabilitated into apartments and retail and restaurant space. Credit Mark Makela for The New York Times

In Philadelphia, losing the tax credit could have a devastating effect on efforts to defend the historic building stock, said Harris Steinberg, executive director of Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and chairman of the new preservation task force. “It very well could lead to more demolition of unprotected historic fabric,” he said.

Source: As Construction Booms, Philadelphia Seeks to Preserve Its Past – The New York Times

Provenance in Kensington launches new line of furniture, lighting – Curbed Philly

Photos by Matt Faisetty for Provenance
Provenance’s new line of desk lamps were created out of old X-ray head lamps. $400.

Its line of desk lamps, created by melding vintage X-ray reflectors with new bases, soon followed. The next step is setting up a showroom within Provenance’s already massive warehouse, so that shoppers can see the furniture and lighting fixtures on display.

One hope is that the new lines of furniture and lighting will help make trips to Provenance a little less, well, overwhelming. Says Lash, “For a lot of people, when they come here the first time, they look at stuff and say, ‘How do I use it?’ Now, we hope they come back and say, ‘Okay, this could work in my home.’”

Source: Provenance in Kensington launches new line of furniture, lighting – Curbed Philly

A former whiskey bottling factory becomes Philadelphia’s latest hip hotel and bar.

Photography by Matthew Williams.

Owner and designer Method Hospitality was careful to preserve much of the landmark building’s industrial character while at the same time embracing the Fishtown’s new creative vibe.

Source: A former whiskey bottling factory becomes Philadelphia’s latest hip hotel and bar.

Repurpose Old Furniture with Chairloom’s Newest Location at Kennett Square

Chairloom joins a host of other high-end names in fashion, home décor, and vintage pieces at Kennett Square’s new one-stop shop, Works.

The Chairloom team is collaborating with House of Hackney, a London-based textile company, on a vintage and custom furniture display at Bergdorf Goodman in March. Says Burke, “We’re looking forward to seeing what doors open now that we will be making more of our own vintage-inspired pieces.”

Source: Repurpose Old Furniture with Chairloom’s Newest Location at Kennett Square

105-year-old East Kensington rectory gets townhome treatment – Curbed Philly

Red Oak Development added a third story to the two-story, stone rectory.

“We’ve worked on the Parish House for about a year, painstakingly restoring it,” said Anthony Giacobbe of Red Oak Development. “And we’re using as much as we can from the original church and rectory and putting it back into the project.”

Source: 105-year-old East Kensington rectory gets townhome treatment – Curbed Philly

Hidden Treasure Abandoned Buildings: Changing Philly’s Demolition Game « CBS Philly

Philadelphia Community Corps executive director Greg Trainor inside a worksite in Fairmount. (Credit: Tom Rickert)

The job training nonprofit he [Greg Trainor] started in 2014 has graduated 18 students into OSHA-certified deconstruction technicians in the past year. He’s opened a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Kensington with classrooms and space for construction projects. And Greg and his job trainees have salvaged more than 50 tons of wood, metal, and building material from the bones of Philadelphia’s abandoned buildings.

Source: Hidden Treasure Abandoned Buildings: Changing Philly’s Demolition Game « CBS Philly

Penn calculates financial toll of blight, violence in Philadelphia | PhillyVoice

Before and after photos of a blighted property in Philadelphia. SOURCE/PENN URBAN HEALTH LAB

Based on these figures and the initial cost of remediation, the first-year return on investment to taxpayers for firearm assaults averted was $5 per abandoned building and $26 per vacant lot. The societal first-year returns on investment for firearm assaults averted were $79 for the remediation of an abandoned building and $333 for the greening of a vacant lot.“The immeasurable pain and void left when lives are lost to firearm violence sends a ripple effect through families and neighborhoods,” said Branas, director of the Penn Urban Health Lab. “This study demonstrates sustainable, replicable strategies that successfully reduce firearm violence. They can transform communities across the country, save lives, and provide well more than a full return on investment to taxpayers and their communities.”

Source: Penn calculates financial toll of blight, violence in Philadelphia | PhillyVoice

DesignPhiladelphia kicks off in salvage warehouse | PhillyVoice

MATT FAISETTY/DESIGNPHILADELPHIA

DesignPhiladelphia invites artists, designers, architects, design-savvy Philadelphians and tastemakers to celebrate Philly’s love for design.

To start the 10-day fest, there will be a party at Provenance in Kensington. The warehouse houses one-of-a-kind architectural salvage.

Source: DesignPhiladelphia kicks off in salvage warehouse | PhillyVoice

Hoover-Mason Trestle wins regional Urban Land Institute award | LVB

The Hoover-Mason Trestle is a one-third mile long elevated walkway in South Side Bethlehem./Photo courtesy ULI Philadelphia.

Completed last fall, the $15.4 million Hoover-Mason Trestle is a one-third mile long elevated walkway that links South Side Bethlehem properties such as the Sands Casino Resort-Bethlehem and SteelStacks.

Source: Hoover-Mason Trestle wins regional Urban Land Institute award | LVB

Demo Contractor on Trial for Philadelphia Building Collapse Deaths

Campbell, 51, had been hired to raze three attached buildings with a cut-rate bid of $112,000, about a third of the next lowest bid. He could also keep whatever he could salvage. Campbell therefore “cannibalized” the building from the inside, removing the floors and support beams that stabilized the four-story walls, prosecutors said.

By the morning of June 5, 2013, all that remained of the former Hoagie City building was an unstable, 30-foot high brick wall attached to the one-story Salvation Army building.

“When that wall collapsed, it totally crushed that Salvation Army, and everyone inside,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber, the homicide chief, said in her opening statement.

The victims included two young artist friends dropping off donations, a mother of nine buying clothes to send to her native Sierra Leone and a newly engaged woman working her first day at the store. One survivor lost both legs after being trapped for 13 hours.

via Demo Contractor on Trial for Philadelphia Building Collapse Deaths.

FOR SALE – ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE BUSINESS – Philadelphia, PA

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Now is the best time for expanding a salvage business. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reinvent are the mainstays of this business and it can now be yours to run with. Everyone is talking about recycling. There is no time like the present as that old adage goes.

For over thirteen years, I have gone to thousands of buildings and homes to find, bring back and resell scores of architectural items. The search has brought me in contact with many interesting people and taught me an immense amount about the history of our workmanship in this country and the craft of the 200 years. This business has weathered the worse recession of my lifetime and is poised to grow under new ownership.

Right now it is compromised in its limited 6000 square feet of space and will need to be moved to a larger location. ReStore of Philadelphia, Inc. could use a 12,000 to 15,000 square foot building to really thrive and grow. I have to turn down 1/2 of what I am offered for lack of space and accessibility.

There are a dozen ways to grow the business, from online sales, more inventory, larger inventory, selling repurposed pieces made by local craftsmen, sharing space with an organic cafe, operating a custom building business with recycled materials, to expanding the inventory to include appliances, radiators, lumber etc.

I am ready to retire and want to see the business move into fresh hands and continue to serve the community of environmentally conscious people. $150,000 includes all the inventory, the corporation, the name, the website, email list (3200 people), signage and all the good will and name recognition that has been established over the past 13 years. Shown are some of the pictures of previous inventory and that is ever changing. Feel free to contact Linda at show contact info for additional information. Or stop by the business at 3016 E. Thompson St. in Phila. any Wednesday through Saturday from 10 to 5 to examine it in person. Thank you for your time and consideration.

via ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE BUSINESS.

Nonprofit and Mt. Airy salvage company unite to sustainably reduce Germantown blight — NewsWorks

Philadelphia Community Corps is providing first-phase deconstruction of nine vacant homes in Germantown-Logan, just outside the main entrance of La Salle University. (Emily Brooks/for NewsWorks)Philadelphia Community Corps is providing first-phase deconstruction of nine vacant homes in Germantown-Logan, just outside the main entrance of La Salle University. (Emily Brooks/for NewsWorks)

“Chris immediately saw the potential,” Trainor said. “Philadelphia Community Corps needs an experienced for-profit partner to break through the barriers to entry into the structure removal industry, and Philadelphia Salvage Company needs a reliable supply of reclaimed building materials.”

They immediately got to work seeking opportunities, and through the collaboration PCC was awarded their first contract — to provide first-phase deconstruction of nine vacant homes in the Germantown-Logan section of Philadelphia, just outside the main entrance of La Salle University.

via Nonprofit and Mt. Airy salvage company unite to sustainably reduce Germantown blight — NewsWorks.

City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight – latimes.com

Neighborhoods where the new strategies have been applied have seen home prices rise 31% over four years, compared with a 1% rise in comparable areas, according to a study by Ira Goldstein of the Reinvestment Fund. The initiatives increased home values by $74 million throughout Philadelphia, Goldstein said, and brought in $2.2 million more in transfer tax receipts.

Philadelphia had been spending millions of dollars a year to tear down vacant properties, and it didn’t seem to be making much headway, said Rebecca Swanson, who directs the city’s vacant building strategy. So in 2011, city officials decided to try a strategy they hoped would prevent properties from becoming run down in the first place.

The city utilized software used by the IRS to track down owners of the vacant buildings. Then the city took the owners to a newly created Blight Court. The door and window ordinance also allows the city to attach liens to property owners’ other personal property, including, in some cases, mansions in the suburbs.

“That was the whole point, to catch them early, cite them for doors and windows, and hopefully that incentivizes the owner to come out of the woodwork and do something,” Swanson said.

via City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight – latimes.com.

{ diy design } philadelphia home show upcycle challenge | DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS: { diy design } philadelphia home show upcycle challenge

Scott and I are participating a local upcycle project called the Unhinged Challenge. It’s hosted by the Philadelphia Home Show and Habitat for Humanity and we’re super excited to share what we’ve been working on!  We were asked to source and repurpose a door from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and turn it into a functional item or hand painted pieces of art. Here are the details…

We visited the Philadelphia Restore and choose this beautiful lightweight bifold door. It looks brand new and we could see it would create a great box shape! So we tossed around a few ideas… we wanted to create something visually beautiful, modern and useful. Then we came up with the Garden Bento Box.

If you like this design vote for them here!

via { diy design } philadelphia home show upcycle challenge | DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS: { diy design } philadelphia home show upcycle challenge.

The Navy Yard at the Forefront of Philly’s Green Rebirth – BuildingGreen

One of the restored, historic buildings at The Navy Yard that serves Urban Outfitters. Photo Credit: Alex Wilson

Many of the most progressive development projects today are occurring on sites where large-scale master planning is possible. That has often been the case where military bases are shut down. The Navy Yard may be the most successful such project yet.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects led the master planning process in 2004, and that plan has just been revised with the 2013 Update. Sustainability is a big part of the Master Plan, and that has been driven in part by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s goal to make Philadelphia the nation’s greenest large city. It’s an impressive plan and well-presented in an online document.

via The Navy Yard at the Forefront of Philly’s Green Rebirth – BuildingGreen.

Philadelphia contractor charged with murder after building collapse | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

PHILADELPHIA — The demolition contractor in June’s disastrous collapse of a Philadelphia building has been charged with six counts of third-degree murder, District Attorney Seth Williams announced Monday.

Williams said Griffin Campbell was “motivated by greed” – trying to maximize the salvage value of building materials – and elected not to use the safe but more labor-intensive way of razing the building at 2136 Market St.

An unsupported wall of the four-story building toppled on June 5, flattening the roof of the adjacent Salvation Army thrift store and crushing six people. Thirteen others were injured.

via Philadelphia contractor charged with murder after building collapse | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Gretz Brewery Partially Demolished, Remainder Still Stands – Demowatch – Curbed Philly

Last month, the Department of Licenses and Inspections decided to demolish a portion of the vacant Gretz Brewery (located at the intersection of Oxford and Germantown Ave.) which had been deemed “imminently dangerous”. Though the long vacant (since 1961, when the brewery shut down) building is chock full of L&I violations, the current owner is appealing them.

via Gretz Brewery Partially Demolished, Remainder Still Stands – Demowatch – Curbed Philly.

Turning ageing barracks and forgotten factories into sustainable housing | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional

 

According to a 2012 study, retrofitting an old building to make it 30% more energy-efficient is greener than building a new one with the same energy use. In other words: saving factories makes sustainability and business sense.

In Philadelphia, a former manufacturing capital that no longer needs its factories, residents can now choose to live in the Rag Flats, a former rag factory, or the Capital Flats, a former meat-packing plant. Both have been turned into modern apartment buildings featuring roof gardens, solar panels, and water collection. “This city used to be an industrial hub and no longer is, but people are moving back into the city”, explained Timothy McDonald, president of Onion Flats, the firm behind the Rag Flats and Capital Flats conversion. “These kinds of buildings aren’t built anymore. And look at the effects of global warming. Saving buildings like these is just common sense.”

via Turning ageing barracks and forgotten factories into sustainable housing | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional.

Northern Liberties Adaptive Reuse Project Asks $1.4M Prior to Adaptation Or Reuse – On The Market – Curbed Philly

Is this is sign of times to come?

A grungy NoLibs warehouse slated for adaptive reuse has been put on the market for an asking price of $1.395 million, just months after it received zoning variances which would allow for condo conversion. The developers, Urban Steel LLC, who bought the property for $700K, according to Naked Philly, would stand to make a pretty nice profit from their hard work at zoning meetings.

via Northern Liberties Adaptive Reuse Project Asks $1.4M Prior to Adaptation Or Reuse – On The Market – Curbed Philly.

Doub’s Free-Spirited in Fishtown House Tour | Apartment Therapy

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Doub transformed her once run-of-the-mill garage in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia into a free-spirited space that screams fun, resourcefulness and a serious sense of style. The unassuming exterior and the raw interiror is what attracted her to the space and she was able to see a diamond in the rough.

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via Doub’s Free-Spirited in Fishtown House Tour | Apartment Therapy.

Philadelphia Salvage company takes over foundry with 200 ‘orphan’ pianos [photos] — NewsWorks

Keys covered in dust and dirt at the old Bureau Brothers Foundry building in North Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia Salvage owner Chris Stock described his first tour of the piano-filled foundry as “surreal.” He said he plans on hiring someone to evaluate the instruments. Many keyboards are caked with dirt and can no longer produce a note, but Stock hopes to donate working pianos to the community. The crew working at the foundry labeled the pianos with blue masking tape for possible salvageable materials, such as ivory keys and ornamented veneers.

The Philadelphia Salvage company plans to expand to the former bronze foundry at 23rd and Westmoreland Streets in North Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

More than 200 pianos are in various states of decay at the old Bureau Brother Foundry in North Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

via Philadelphia Salvage company takes over foundry with 200 ‘orphan’ pianos [photos] — NewsWorks.

Footsteps to Follow: Ten Examples of Effective Adaptive Reuse – Curbed Maps – Curbed Philly

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The best instances of adaptive reuse support the redevelopment of a building that no longer serves its original purpose while giving back to the community. While America is no longer the manufacturing powerhouse it once was, there is something poetic about looking past the joists and trusses that supported yesterday’s industry, in buildings now abuzz with educated young creatives thirsty for opportunity and growth.

via Footsteps to Follow: Ten Examples of Effective Adaptive Reuse – Curbed Maps – Curbed Philly.

Biking Toward Domani-nation: Domani Developers Looks to Expand Their Frankford Ave Adaptive Reuse Empire – Coming Attractions – Curbed Philly

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Domani Developers, the minds behind the shabby-chic aesthetic of much of Frankford Avenue is looking to expand their dominion with two new apartment buildings. Both proposals involve factory conversions, in keeping with the aesthetic and MO laid out by the string of adaptive reuse projects throughout Fishtown. But one of the projects, the conversion of the old REACH factory (located right off of Frankford Avenue,) involves a feature which would be a first for Philly, a bicycle garage.

via Biking Toward Domani-nation: Domani Developers Looks to Expand Their Frankford Ave Adaptive Reuse Empire – Coming Attractions – Curbed Philly.

PlanPhilly | Council will hold hearings on adaptive reuse of closed school buildings

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“Abandoned buildings can quickly become the scourge of a neighborhood if there is no plan in place to secure new tenants or re-imagine the building,” Brown said Thursday in a statement. “Prior proper planning makes the difference; by putting together an action plan now, we have the opportunity for creative, innovative ideas that can transform neighborhoods in a positive manner. Our goal is to harness the creativity and brain power from a host of diverse stakeholders to breathe new life into these buildings, energize surrounding neighborhoods and realize new revenue for the School District of Philadelphia.”

via PlanPhilly | Council will hold hearings on adaptive reuse of closed school buildings.

Demolition News » Comment – The duplicity of drug tests…

Given the size of the equipment at use in demolition, the fact that workers are often required to work at height, and the potential damage that can be wrought by a momentary loss of concentration, the global demolition industry should have long since adopted a zero tolerance stance on drugs. Never mind the local employment laws that require an employer to help provide rehabilitation in the event of a failed drug test. Never mind the fact that marijuana is now as readily accessible as beer and cigarettes. And never mind that, for many people, it is a regular weekend activity. Demolition MUST be a drug-free zone.

Between them, the various national and international trade associations have set in place all manner of self-imposed rules and regulations governing everything from recycling rates and insurance requirements to correct operating procedures for excavators, crushers and attachments. But none has yet had the foresight or the balls to suggest or enforce a zero tolerance drugs policy.

It is high time that they did.

Read the entire editorial via Demolition News » Comment – The duplicity of drug tests….

Equipment operator surrenders in Phila. building collapse

PHILADELPHIA — A heavy-equipment operator with a lengthy rap sheet who is accused of being high on marijuana when a downtown building collapsed onto a thrift store, killing six people, surrendered yesterday to face charges in the deaths, police said.

Authorities believe Benschop, 42, had been using an excavator Wednesday when the remains of the four-story building toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

….

As the criminal investigation heated up, at least two survivors sued the demolition contractor and building owner, alleging gross recklessness at the job site.

Read the entire article via Equipment operator surrenders in Phila. building collapse.

Simply Fabulous Philadelphia Home Design Tours: David Fierabend’s Repurposed Penthouse in Northern Liberties | G Philly

The apartment’s funky-yet-clean vibe is the result of a clever mix of repurposed materials, used as accents for Fierabend’s thoughtfully curated collection of modern furniture. Walls are strewn with old barn wood and salvaged chicken-coop tin, adding to the rustic vibe and careful patterning scheme throughout. “It’s just my style,” Fierabend says. “I like to repurpose, but I wanted it to be in an eclectic way that makes sense.”

The bar is made up of live edge poplar and rusted supports from worn bleachers; a hulking ship piping mold, picked up from Provenance, has now been re-imagined as a side table. The plywood table that sits in the center of the unit’s relaxed office is an original that consists of “hundreds of cuts all glued together,” Fierabend says. “So it has a lot of texture to it and natural lines in it, which are really terrific.”

via Simply Fabulous Philadelphia Home Design Tours: David Fierabend’s Repurposed Penthouse in Northern Liberties | G Philly.

GrowShare

There are over 40,000 vacant lots in the City of Philadelphia. These lots are eyesores and become places where crime and pollution are common. Unemployment in Philadelphia is 11.6%, meaning that 1 out of every 8 people cannot find work.

GrowShare is an online resource committed to helping citizens find jobs, clean up their community, decrease crime, and beautify their neighborhood.

Visualize Urban Ideas

GrowShare uses Google Maps & Places to provide a geospatial view of ideas in urban neighborhoods.

Recession & Bureaucracy Proof

As long as the Internet is up, your GrowShare.net’s projects and resources will continue to receive contracts on your terms.

Finding the True Cost of a Project

Project estimates are estimates. The true cost of a project is only found when it’s done. Because GrowShare.net gives every project it’s own webpage, all data for a project is aggregated in the same place. This allows users to see the true cost of each project.

Fair Compensation

Auction ensures the fairest compensation for civic resource exchanges at different levels.

Data Gathering

GrowShare gathers city data like crime & vacant lots to help users grow & share.

Open Source Technologies

We have deployed the following Open Source technologies for this project:

Google Map API

Google Places API

WeBid Auction Engine

MySQL database with temporal and spatial datasets

Twitter, FB and g+ APIs

jQuery Mobile 1.2.0

PhoneGap

Data Sources

For this alpha release, we have tapped the following data sources:

Google Maps and Google Places

Vacant Lots, City of Philadelphia

Recreation and parks, City of Philadelphia

CrimeReports.com

Team

The GrowShare.net team is led by Professor Justin Y. Shi, Associate Professor and Associate Chairman of CIS Department at Temple University.

Team Members:

Kristiyan Georgiev | Graduate Ph.D. Candidate | CIS Department, College of Science and Technology

Brett M Statman | Senior Undergraduate | Digital Media, Tyler School of Art

William S Mantegna | Senior Undergraduate | MIS Department, Fox School of Business

Han-Lin Wu | Graduate MS Candidate | ECE Department, School of Engineering

via GrowShare.

From Portland, cues for Philly school-building reuse — NewsWorks

The 1915 Spanish-style school building was converted to a hotel complex in 1997 by Oregon's McMenamin brothers, after sitting empty and at risk of demolition for years. (Amy Z. Quinn/for NewsWorks)

There hasn’t been a student enrolled at The Kennedy School since 1979, but the tidy campus tucked into the corner of a Northeast Portland neighborhood is alive with activity year-round. The 1915 Spanish-style school building was converted to a hotel complex in 1997 by Oregon’s McMenamin brothers, after sitting empty and at risk of demolition for years.

With Philadelphia beginning to seriously consider what will become of dozens of former school buildings here, the Kennedy School and the McMenamins’ other adaptive reuse projects, ranging from grand hotels to small local churches, are worth a look.

A lesson in creative thinking

Neighbors had successfully campaigned to have the Kennedy School historically designated, but several attempts to find an appropriate redevelopment failed. The McMenamins, developers of hotels, brewpubs and entertainment venues in Oregon and Washington, won city approval for their proposal.

It took creative financing, but more importantly, creative thinking. As a result, The Kennedy School’s 57-room hotel may be not be the weirdest thing in Portland, but it is among the most unique.

The school remains a vital community gathering point by offering public meeting space and through events. The auditorium is now a movie theatre, with weekly matinees and infant-friendly showings; lectures and community events are held in the old library and classrooms; weddings happen in the former gymnasium.

Read the rest of this great article via From Portland, cues for Philly school-building reuse — NewsWorks.

architectural salvage Archives | Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Dismantling of 2134 Market St

Steve Shellenberger, the owner of Architectural Antiques, is the man running the crew deconstructing the façade, and he told us the whole building is going to be carefully disassembled and and stored in a warehouse. Shellenberger will then sell the package of architecture to another buyer, like a developer or decorator who’s looking for something unique. Considering the visual continuity of the façade, it’s likely to stay together rather than be parceled out. As such, the historic legacy and appealing architecture will be preserved and made useful again, even as its old, somewhat seedy home is leveled.

Closeup of dismantling

via architectural salvage Archives | Philadelphia Real Estate Blog.

PegandAwl | Peg and Awl

Behold the reclaimed splendor of PegandAwl.

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We are husband and wife with a boy called Søren and a boy called Silas. We live and work in Philadelphia, Penna.

Our work is made from olde things, treasures found and recovered from misfortune and neglect, relics of the unusual, the confused and the macabre, cut and pulled and built into wearable curiosities, inscribable keepsakes and useable, longlasting treasures. We used to make them for ourselves and now we make them for everyone.

-M. and W. Kent

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via PegandAwl | Peg and Awl.

Really Cool Adaptive Reuse On The Way for Former Power Station | NakedPhilly

Though public record doesn’t suggest that ownership has changed, a new owner has clearly stepped forward with plans to redevelop this property. And they’re looking to do an adaptive reuse.

According to Hidden City, the property in question is over a hundred years old and was constructed as a power substation for mass transit. The building immediately next door, in fact, still fills that purpose for Septa.

via Really Cool Adaptive Reuse On The Way for Former Power Station | NakedPhilly.

PlanPhilly | Bill would require construction and demolition crews to recycle waste

A new bill introduced into City Council would require contractors to recycle a substantial portion of waste and debris at construction and demolition sites in Philadelphia. The bill, which was introduced by Councilman Bobby Henon and co-sponsored by at-large Council members Jim Kenney and Blondell Reynolds-Brown, would amend the “Refuse and Littering” section of the Philadelphia Code.

The bill is expected to evolve, but an early draft defines Construction and Demolition Debris as “Materials resulting from the construction, remodeling, repair and demolition of utilities, structures, buildings, and roads …” It includes items like bricks, wood, glass, shingles, and other “non-putrescible,” non-hazardous materials.

In its current form, the bill would require contractors to recycle 35 percent of all debris—by weight—during the first year after the requirement takes effect, on July 1, 2013. After July 1, 2014, contractors would be required to recycle at least 60 percent of debris.

See the rest of the article via PlanPhilly | Bill would require construction and demolition crews to recycle waste.

Plowing Over: Can Urban Farming Save Detroit and Other Declining Cities? Will the Law Allow It? – Magazine – ABA Journal

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In the neighborhood of the also-abandoned St. Cyril Church, the tract—if not redeveloped—could someday add significantly to the acreage devoted to urban agriculture. Photo by James Griffioen.

It’s a warm day in April, and Skip Wiener is showing off the crown jewel of gardens that the Urban Tree Connection has created out of 29 vacant lots in the poverty-ridden Haddington neighborhood on Philadelphia’s west side.

The site, tucked away in the center of a block of 60 homes, once was used by a construction firm for storage. When Wiener, the founder and director of the UTC, was first alerted about the property by a local block captain, it was overgrown, riddled with industrial waste, and a haven for drug dealers and prostitutes.

It was just what the UTC was looking for. The nonprofit organization supports renewal efforts in low-income communities by turning abandoned open spaces into various types of gardens, including some devoted to growing fruits and vegetables.

The site is now called the Neighborhood Food Central Production Farm. Any remaining debris has been pushed to the side; wood chips have been sprinkled over the driveway; and, in the center, neat rows of vegetables are growing, marked by cheerful hand-painted signs announcing such crops as potatoes, bok choy, collards and cabbages.

The “farm” is special, partly because of its comparatively large size—two-thirds of an acre—but also because it’s the only property over which the UTC enjoys actual legal possession. On the others, says Wiener, the organization’s founder and executive director, “we’re basically squatting.”

The UTC’s farm typifies a growing but still uncertain movement to bring agriculture back to America’s cities.

The Georgia Street Community Collective exists not only to supply the community with fresh fruits and vegetables, but to provide education and leadership skills to area youth. It also supports a community center/library.

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The Georgia Street Community Collective exists not only to supply the community with fresh fruits and vegetables, but to provide education and leadership skills to area youth. It also supports a community center/library. Photo by James Griffioen.

 

GREEN GROUNDSWELL

Across the nation, thousands of urban gardens and farms are sprouting on empty lots, on parkland and in schoolyards. Food is being grown on rooftops, on traffic strips, even in containers hung on the sunny sides of buildings. And it’s not just produce. Pigs, goats, bees and chickens also are becoming city residents in growing numbers.

Municipalities are embracing agriculture not only as a means to combat a host of urban woes—hunger, air pollution and the proliferation of derelict, crime-ridden abandoned properties, to name a few—but as a cornerstone to efforts to make themselves healthier and more sustainable.

For the most part, however, local land-use regulations are lagging behind the fast-growing urban agriculture phenomenon. “Most cities don’t have zoning categories that recognize agriculture activities,” says Domenic Vitiello, who teaches urban planning at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Cities across the country are scrambling to update ordinances to regulate—and often facilitate—a variety of agricultural activities, including community gardens, commercial farms, backyard chicken coops and beehives. Meanwhile, many urban food growers and agricultural businesses operate under a cloud of extralegality, waiting for the law to catch up.

An important question, though, is whether all these legal changes will matter in the long run. It’s still uncertain whether agriculture will become a permanent feature of the landscape in U.S. cities or whether it is a short-term response to setbacks caused by the Great Recession and other economic factors.

This is not the first time U.S. cities have made agriculture part of their landscapes. It happened during other major economic downturns, and both of the 20th century’s world wars. Some 20 million victory gardens were planted during World War II, producing an estimated 40 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

But after each crisis passed, agriculture largely returned to its rural homeland. When World War II ended, the victory gardens disappeared as the plots they took up were put to more traditional urban uses.

Continue reading Plowing Over: Can Urban Farming Save Detroit and Other Declining Cities? Will the Law Allow It? – Magazine – ABA Journal