In 2004, Philadelphia was entering the third year of its Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) program, which aimed to remove blight and promote responsible development throughout the city. 30,000 vacant lots with varying statuses dotted the city landscape — some government-owned, others privately owned but abandoned for various personal or financial reasons. Many lots were rubble-strewn and generally unkempt. In some cases, however, neighborhood organizations had turned eyesores into vibrant community gardens. As the NTI set out to address Philadelphia's vacant land, they sought help from APA.
APA formed a Technical Assistance Team to help the city develop a set of standardized criteria for evaluating each parcel on its suitability for near-term development; parks, open space, and recreational use (as part of the city's permanent open space inventory); or future development potential.
Summary Report: Philadelphia AICP Technical Assistance Team
Community Planning Assistance Team Report
The work of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) and associated efforts to address vacant land, open space, and city parks are all critical elements of ensuring that Philadelphia remains a great place to live, work, visit, learn, shop, and play. While NTI entails many complex project-focused issues, it is important that the city not lose sight of how these activities support a larger vision.
Meet the Team
Sue Schwartz, FAICP, led the team, which included Rudayna Abdo, AICP; Kirk Bishop; Hazel R. Edwards, PhD, AICP; and Jeffrey M. Taebel, FAICP.