South Side Story: sustainADELPHIA

story by Char VandermeerWe’ve all carped about the litter cluttering our neighborhoods’ streets—even catching litterbugs in the act and voicing disapproval. For Matt Migliore and Brooke Allen, it got to be too much. They could no longer see past the tossed tissues and discarded Doritos bags. “We were always walking around the city and seeing trash on the streets and in the parks,” recalls Migliore. “Clean-ups seemed like a good idea.” In 2008, the duo launched sustainADELPHIA, tackling Philly’s litter-strewn streets
“sustainADELPHIA is a broad umbrella that will allow us to get involved in a variety of things, but right now our focus is the clean-ups,” says Migliore. “Building Blox is the first project we’re focusing on. It aims to clean up the streets of our fair city, one block at a time,”
Residents of Queen Village, the pair became heavily involved in converting an empty lot at 6th and Christian into Triangle Park. Although the lot is privately owned, they hope it will eventually be turned over to the city. They then followed the litter trail southward into Pennsport and Whitman. Working closely with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, the Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and City Year, sustainADELPHIA schedules frequent clean-up days and has developed active support groups for the Herron Playground and Mifflin Square Park.
Their vision extends beyond the parks themselves to the parks’ role in their communities. “We’re trying to work with the Cambodian Association,” says Migliore. “We want to bridge the gap between your traditional South Philly community and the Cambodian population—and other Southeast Asians who live around the park—to work together as a team.”

sustainadelphia.org