Philly loves a good rivalry. There’s Mets versus Phillies. Eagles versus Giants. Pat’s versus Geno’s. South Philly Vikings versus the Shooting Stars. So, can our competitive spirit help the city save energy?
Neighborhood Powerdown, an energy savings competition organized by the University of Pennsylvania, is betting on it. Part of “Sustainability in Action,” a course designed by Mark Alan Hughes, founding director of the mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the program pairs students with teams of West and North Philadelphia residents for a month-long billing cycle. The goal: Lower collective energy consumption (compared to the same billing cycle in 2009) by the most kilowatt hours
by Nathaniel Popkin
In the earliest days of the Center for Community Partnerships at Penn, a project I was a part of for a few years in the mid-’90s, we considered (but never executed) a “misery/happiness index” for West Philadelphia. The index was an idea of the historian Lee Benson, the Dewian visionary who believed that an engaged university was a unique engine of participatory democracy. Benson didn’t hope to facilitate another study of an urban neighborhood, but rather he wanted to create a quantifiable tool to help West Philadelphians reflect on the relationship between the quality of their own lives and the condition of the city they live in.