Design

Philadelphia is on a mission to convert its dilapidated open spaces into green, safe havens one park rehabilitation project at a time.

The 606, which takes its name from Chicago's ZIP code prefix and whose centerpiece is a 2.7-mile recreational and cultural trail, is a bold and potentially brilliant reinvention of a dormant and derelict elevated freight line that blighted Northwest Side neighborhoods such as Bucktown and Logan Square.

For community stakeholders interested in transforming vacant lots, it may seem easier to clean up blighted areas than to change public opinion about the area of South Los Angeles widely known for its infamous riots. Yet, several community-based organizations are determined to do both.

In a densely populated, park-starved part of central Queens, a coalition of local residents and the Trust for Public Land are working to create new open space from a partially elevated rail line from the 1800s.

“Making Philadelphia the greenest city in America involves infrastructure changes and creating healthy, sustainable spaces, and it is also about creating opportunities to educate our children about the environment so that they are prepared to care for it in the future,” said Mayor Nutter.

Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Deputy Mayor/Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis and The Trust for Public Land hosted a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of a new green playground at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of North Philadelphia.

Like any new leader taking over a large, complex organization, the next mayor of Philadelphia will have a host of options when setting the administration's priorities, and these choices will greatly influence how the city changes in the future.

Through the identification of schoolyards within the city’s green infrastructure priority areas, targeting specific stormwater management goals, playgrounds like P.S. 261 can have an immediate impact on water quality within their local watersheds

For decades, an odd-shaped lot on King Boulevard in South Los Angeles sat vacant. Though fenced off from trespassers, trash collected inside its borders and the weeds grew brown and brittle.

The property is one of thousands of parcels landowners have abandoned or left vacant, some in the wake of the Watt riots of summer 1965, which community organizers now want to turn into play spaces for young children and their families.

A four-acre park and playground in Bridgeport’s East End is about to get a major makeover. Mayor Bill Finch announced Tuesday that the city will soon begin transforming Johnson Oak Park, as well as the grounds of the adjacent Jettie S. Tisdale Elementary School.

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