From the Ground Up

Philadelphia Urban Creators enact their bold plan
to educate, energize, empower and unite

Along 11th Street in North Philadelphia, a short drive from City Hall, are blocks of crumbling rowhomes and crowded public housing apartments, interrupted by the conspicuously new townhomes and condos of Temple University students. Vacant lots abound, edged by rickety fences and rife with weeds and litter. A few parks stand eerily empty, their rusty basketball hoops and crumbling concrete a testament of neglect. In the middle of it all stands a most unlikely neighbor: a farm.

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Little Green Giants: The Sheridan Street Houses are changing the face of affordable housing

The 1800 Block of Sheridan Street in North Philadelphia defies the expectations of what affordable housing looks like. The homes aren’t suburban style, semi-detached houses, or the 1950s high-rises they replaced.  Instead, you’ll find a block of sleekly designed, eco-friendly homes.
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Senior Class: Mt. Tabor Cyber Village provides a green haven for North Philadelphia’s over-55 crowd

The yellow-painted halls of Mt. Tabor Cyber Village looks more like a college dorm than a senior living center. Apartments are decorated with welcome mats and doorhangers, and residents have personalized the individual shelves outside their doors. There’s a computer lab, fitness center and community room on the first floor. And each of the four floors boast a shared laundry area and common room where residents can read, play cards, watch TV or just hang out. Being 55 or older never looked more fun.
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Feature: Food Desert

North Philly still lacks fresh food access
by Tenaya Darlington

Kensington, one of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods, has undergone significant revitalization over the last few years, especially along the southern corridor that borders Northern Liberties. You’ll now find a coffee shop, a Spanish imports store and even a sustainable fish merchant amid the tattoo parlors and check cashing stores that dot Girard Avenue between Front Street and 5th, the loosely defined borders of what neighbors call “South Kensington.” Keep moving north, though, toward Cecil B. Moore Avenue, and you’ll find yourself in something of a nutritional wasteland.
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Transitioning Town

North Philly changes before our eyes
by Will Dean with additional reporting by Dana Henry

When you think about a sustainable city, what does it look like? Whether it’s a futuristic, shiny sci-fi wonderland or a green treehouse-like Ewok village, you probably don’t think of North Philly. With it’s abandoned industrial buildings and bad reputation for drugs and crime, it doesn’t seem like the place where a bright new future full of efficient gadgets and green spaces will emerge. That kind of thinking is a barrier, though, because it’s exactly in those kinds of places that local sustainability can emerge, and on February 4 the Fishtown, East Kensington and Old Richmond sections of North Philly made a step towards becoming the most sustainable section of the city, and perhaps even the country.
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