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Compass, Connector, Catalyst: Re-Imagining 8th and Berks

November 14, 2013

8th and Berks Charrette (4)

On November 1st, Philadelphia LISC co-hosted a design charrette to explore the possibilities of redeveloping a 1.8-acre, city-owned vacant lot at 8th and Berks—a key site in APM’s SCI-Eastern North Philadelphia strategy for building a more sustainable, equitable, and vibrant neighborhood.

The event, “Compass, Connector, Catalyst: Re-Imagining 8th and Berks”  brought together designers, public agencies, community development experts, and community stakeholders as part of AIA Philadelphia’s Design on the Delaware conference. Philadelphia LISC’s partners included Community Design Collaborative, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development, and AIA Philadelphia.

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), Philadelphia LISC , and the City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development have worked together for over twenty years to transform the APM community in Eastern North Philadelphia from one of blight to one of choice. Their partnership continues with APM’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) for Eastern North Philadelphia, which was created to implement a long-lasting, sustainable, and comprehensive strategy to meet the challenges facing this community.

The redevelopment of the large, city-owned parcel at 8th and Berks will further catalyze redevelopment in Eastern North, building on momentum generated by the new green, transit-oriented development at 9th and Berks: Paseo Verde.  That development is slated to open before the end of 2013, and features 120 units of rental housing and over 30,000 square feet of community and retail space.

Designers, architects, local stakeholders, and other participants worked to come up with designs that responded to community needs and answered the following key questions: How can we best engage the community in envisioning the site’s future? What unmet community needs will be the right match? And how can one parcel make a difference—as a compass for community change, a connector of people and places, and a catalyst for a sustainable community?


Photos by Jane Whitehouse 
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