The most important issue in the mayor’s race might be the blight of Philadelphia’s enormous inventory of derelict property. This blight has many causes and many effects…READ MORE


My 1908- 15 city tax map is back from the framers. Several times over the past week or so, I’ve shown the map to neighbors—and everyone loves to see what their surrounding blocks were like 100 years ago…READ MORE

I’m often asked why there’s so little “smart growth” in the state. You know smart growth (aka new urbanism): that combination of state infrastructure investment, regional land-use regulation, traditional housing design, pedestrian- friendly street design and increased densities packaged as an alternative to sprawl. Smart growth has been so successfully promoted in stateslike Maryland, California and New Jersey that it’s generating something of a backlash…READ MORE

I love the Please Touch Museum. My two children have lived their whole lives within a stone’s throw of the place, and my first child went to the museum almost every day until he was about three. They’ve both grown up with the staff and are in the background of more than their share of photos in the museum newsletter…READ MORE

Last week, I predicted that, with election season approaching, we’d begin to see some action to make up for three years of mayoral dithering . This week, I predict that the mayor will soon announce a new blight czar. Of course, many of us have been calling for someone to fill that post for years…READ MORE

Last month, I gave a talk at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University for which I’d been asked to compare Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley’s anti-blight plan with Mayor Street’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. It’s easy to talk about NTI: No plan, no progress, and no person in the country willing to run it for Street. But during the discussion following the talk, I was struck by the huge difference in civic expectations between Baltimore and Philadelphia…READ MORE