Intersections: Fair Play

The Philadelphia Center for Architecture and the Ed Bacon Foundation have launched their Fifth Annual Ed Bacon Student Competition. This year’s theme—“Designing for the Fair of the Future”—asks local and international college students to transport themselves to the year 2026, designing a venue for the World’s Fair celebration, held on the occasion of America’s 250th birthday. The student submissions will be judged on creativity, vision and the effectiveness of their solution for utilizing a vacant site in an underused section of South Philadelphia. Those with the winning designs will split $6,000 in prize money and attend an awards ceremony at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture on December 7. The competition reimagines the vision of Edmund Bacon himself, whose dream of a 1976 World’s Fair was never realized.

November 2 is the deadline for receipt of competition submissions; the awards ceremony will be held on December 7,

Technology: Wheel House

Ever since its first iteration in the 1960s, bike sharing has been a bit of an idealistic campaign. It sounds great, sure. But in reality, bike sharing systems often lead to underutilized, vandalized and stolen bikes—keeping overhead high and program initiation low. Now, one local company is using innovative software to change the economics of this sought-after city asset.

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Intersections: Money Matters

If Philadelphia hopes to become one of the greenest cities in America, now is the time. Thanks to two multi-million dollar grants from the federal government (distributed as part of President Obama’s Recovery Act), Philly is embarking on initiatives that will create green jobs, address energy concerns and offer sustainable solutions to some of the city’s longtime problems.
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Mose Def

A West Philly prog-metal band runs on veggie oil 
by Jacob Lambert

For the average band, touring is a difficult proposition: the rush to and from cities, the endless gear-schlepping, the loss of proper sleep. All that makes West Philadelphia’s Mose Giganticus all the more notable: The prog-metal quartet, currently in the thick of a cross-country tour, runs their bus on vegetable oil
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For the Birds

An urban environment is no deterrent to hawk watching
by Bernard Brown,

On this particular morning, the pigeons were smarter than the squirrels. Walking from my office to the ATM, I noticed breadcrumbs strewn across a stretch of sidewalk in Washington Square Park. A pair of young squirrels took turns jumping on each other and tussling in the grass nearby, but nary a pigeon was there to peck up the crumbs.
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Growing Pains

A fight erupts over an urban farm project in Roxborough 
by Nic Esposito

Is a local Philadelphia food system just a curiosity—something that looks good on grant applications—or can it sustain our city? Does it work by revitalizing a portion of the city’s vacant lots or do we rely on the surrounding rural counties to support our agricultural needs?
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Shades of Progress

The city makes tree planting a priority
by Cassie Cummins

Upon unveiling Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s sustainability plan, Mayor Nutter announced his ambition to make Philadelphia “the greenest city in America” by 2015. A little over a year later, the city has numerous programs underway, including its Tree Planting Initiative—an effort to increase the city’s tree canopy from 15 to 30 percent by 2026. The city will plant 300,000 new trees in the next five years.

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Sun Solutions: A local catering company gets a solar panel rig for their new digs

Feast Your Eyes Catering was in Northern Liberties before the hordes. Now, they’re in South Kensington, in a spectacular space carved out of an old barrel factory. They moved so they could add an event space to their off-site catering services. And what a space it is: Rustic wood and soaring industrial beauty are paired with spectacular custom chandeliers by local artist Warren Muller.
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LEED Bill Passes City Council

In December, the City Council voted 17-0 to pass Bill No. 080025, introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. The bill requires LEED-silver standards for all government construction projects over 10,000 square feet that are primarily funded by city capital dollars and controlled by the city. The measure is an important step towards reaching the Target 1 goal of Greenworks Philadelphia (reducing government energy consumption 30 percent by 2015), and could someday be extended to all city buildings.

Face Lift: The Curtis Institute of Music’s expansion project

For the last few months, observant Philadelphians strolling down the 1600 block of Locust Street have no doubt been startled. When you first catch a glimpse of the massive Curtis Institute of Music expansion project, it feels a little bit like you’ve stumbled onto a movie set.

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Just Rewards: Philadelphia Recycling Rewards launches in Strawberry Mansion

RecycleBank, a company founded in Philadelphia in 2005, has finally launched its innovative recycling rewards program in the City of Brotherly Love. Mayor Nutter and other city leaders celebrated the event with a press conference and demonstration in Strawberry Mansion.
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Blast Off: New Age Blasting Media uses recycled glass in a creative way

Did you know that most blast cleaning in the United States—used on public spaces like bridges, buildings and sidewalks—is done with industrial coal waste? Yup, industrial coal waste (or coal slag): the very same substance causing an environmental and public health disaster after a spill in Tennessee, and the same black muck that Lesley Stahl was warned to wash off her boots during a recent 60 Minutes piece.
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Trick My Truck: The city's Mural Arts Program brings a colorful flourish to recycling

One of the most striking things about the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program launch was the trucks. Wrapped in vibrant, colorful patterns, the hulking behemoths were belle of the ball. That’s all thanks to a partnership between the Streets Commission, under the guidance of Clarena Tolson, and Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program.

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WHEN IT RAINS: Local designer Taryn Zychal gives broken umbrellas new life

Umbrellas—designed as a convenient solution to getting caught in the rain—can be surprisingly unwieldy. On a stormy day, Philly sidewalks are filled with all shapes, sizes and varieties. But, when the wind is strong, the flimsy shields often can’t withstand the pressure, acquiring that all-too-familiar inside-out look. At that point, the city becomes an umbrella graveyard.

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