P R E F A C E
To the citizens of Philadelphia,
Over the past year, we had the privilege of working with thousands of Philadelphians who helped imagine a gleaming future for seven miles of the central Delaware riverfront. For that, we are extremely grateful. This report represents the fruits of those labors.
A Civic Vision for the Central Delaware rests upon the values, hopes and aspirations of the scores of Philadelphians from all walks of life who gave generously of their time, energy and passion to help craft a roadmap to the future. The civic vision is drawn from a sustained and, at times, provocative public conversation about how we can develop what is Philadelphia’s signal natural asset—the Delaware River. As such, this is both a hopeful and a challenging document.
It is hopeful because it paints a picture of a city by a river that grows gracefully towards the water’s edge. This is a vision of an inclusive Philadelphia—one in which commerce, culture and ecology peaceably coexist. It is challenging because it defies Philadelphia to aim high, change old habits and seize the opportunity to reestablish itself as a leading city of the world.
It dares us to believe in ourselves once again.
The work does not end with the publication of this document. Rather, the civic vision is a starting point for further dialogue and action, setting the table for the fruitful fulfillment of Philadelphia’s sparkling potential. It lays out choices we can make about investment in public spaces; it calls upon us to continue talking; and it provides a framework for growth that can help us find common ground.
Special thanks go to Mayor John F. Street for authorizing this work and to First District Councilman Frank DiCicco for championing the process. The Central Delaware Advisory Group provided exemplary collaborative oversight. We are extremely grateful to the William Penn Foundation and the Knight Foundation for their generous support of this work and for their sage guidance over the course of the project. I am particularly thankful to PennDesign dean Gary Hack for his constancy and counsel. And I am indebted to the indefatigable efforts of the PennPraxis staff, the Penn Project on Civic Engagement, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the planning firm of WRT for producing a work of such sterling quality.
But it is the people of Philadelphia who merit the most profound thanks. Your efforts and engagement have created a work of depth and integrity, one that is real Philadelphia.
Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA
School of Design
University of Pennsylvania
In March 2008 the Civic Vision received the national Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism
The Civic Vision, calls for the following:
1. Public access to the river over paths and extended streets;
2. Parks within a ten-minute walk of every home and neighborhood;
3. A recreational trail along the river for walkers and cyclists;
4. A streetcar line along the median of Delaware Avenue/Columbus Boulevard;
5. Parking that does not ruin water views or dominate the landscape; and
6. A healthy river’s edge that includes a 100-foot greenway along its shore.