The First-Ever Urban Earthship Is Being Built In West Philly

There’s a vacant lot at 675 N. 41st Street in West Philadelphia that’s about to become something Philadelphia has never seen before–an Earthship.

When Thomas L. Miller, the owner of a vacant lot in West Philadelphia, heard a woman on the radio talking about her plan to build an “Earthship” in August of 2013, he was quick to call the radio station and donate his lot to her. The woman was Rashida Ali-Campbell, founder of Yeadon-based nonprofit LoveLovingLove, Inc.

The Earthship, which is in development now at 675 N. 41st Street, will act as a Philadelphia branch for LoveLovingLove, Inc, whose mission is to heal impoverished communities with holistic health education. It also hosts programs like Operation Olive Branch, an annual award that recognizes local law enforcement districts with the lowest complaint rates. In its new Earthship office, the organization will hold healthy-living workshops for those coping with diabetes and high blood pressure.

“We want to bring holistic health information and activities to the community through workshops, holding free events on the land, and having workshops for people to learn how to build an Earthship themselves,” Ali-Campbell said, “So that other people who have the desire to build can grab up some of these 40,000 vacant lots and turn them into something beautiful and sustainable.”

Read more:

http://earthship.com/blogs/2015/01/first-ever-urban-earthship-built-west-philly/

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Generational Shift: Pittsburgh Milennials Help Reshape The City

When Beth Swanson moved out of her house in Collier last spring, she looked at places from Mount Washington to the South Hills and the Strip District before settling on Downtown.

She couldn’t be happier.

“I can walk anywhere I want to go. I can walk to a restaurant. I can walk to go to a show. There’s so much to do Downtown. For me being in my 20s, it’s just the ideal location,” she said.

Ms. Swanson, 25, has lived in a two-bedroom apartment at Market Square Place since May. She is among the growing legion of millennials and young professionals who are helping to fuel the residential building boom in and near Downtown.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2015/01/03/Generational-Shift/stories/201501030003

Report: Bright Millennials Flocking To Center City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The number of educated millennials living in Center City ballooned 78 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a report released Monday.

“The Young and Restless and the Nation’s Cities,” published by cityobservatory.org, found that 25 to 34 year olds with at least a bachelor’s degree have been flocking to major metropolitan areas, fueling economic growth and stimulating urban revitalization.

Philadelphia ranked sixth among major cities which have attracted young college graduates to their booming city centers. New York City topped the list followed by San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Report_Number_of_educated_millennials_living_in_Center_City_skyrockets.html#MqLbhuE2OgqeDAdH.99

Downtown Residents, Developers Enjoy Romance With Rooftops

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

Downtown Pittsburgh as seen from PNC Park across the Allegheny River

From atop the Lando Building at Penn Avenue and Ninth Street, Todd Palacic can see PNC Park, kayaks on the Allegheny River, construction work on The Tower at PNC Plaza and glimpses of the shimmering glass of PPG Place.

Palacic, who is developing the seven-story structure into 27 apartments and building a deck on its roof, foresees tenants throwing parties, watching fireworks and lounging amid Pittsburgh’s skyline.

“People who live Downtown want to show off, and a deck allows them to show off,” Palacic, a developer at Penn Avenue Renaissance, said as he leaned over the deck railing to look out over the river. “A lot of first kisses will happen up here on this deck. I guarantee it.”

As more people move Downtown — the population jumped 10.5 percent in the past three years, reaching more than 7,500, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership — residents are claiming rooftops as social spaces to dine, drink, relax and take in sights. Restaurants have opened rooftop bars and seating areas. Nearly 10 apartment complexes boast roof patios and lounges, and new developments almost all have rooftop plans.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/6451106-74/downtown-pittsburgh-tower#ixzz37vYrS6MJ
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Downtown Pittsburgh Enjoys Growth In Population, Building Boom

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fred and Christine Thieman migrated from the suburbs to Downtown when their youngest child went to college about three years ago.

That year, for the first time in more than 90 years, the nation’s biggest cities, including Pittsburgh, grew faster than their suburbs, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy group.

The trend continued in each of the past two years, though growth rates for cities and suburbs hover around 1 percent and the gap between them is narrowing, Brookings reported in May.

But the population living Downtown has soared. Census data show the area was home to 12,343 people last year, up 10.5 percent from 2010.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6202435-74/downtown-units-percent#ixzz33UyDfZnb
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Urban Strategist To York County Community Foundation: Stakes High For City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blame the millennials.

Those gadget-wielding young people born in the 1980s and 1990s are the reason America’s real-estate market seems, well, a bit confused.

After decades of suburban sprawl designed to accommodate the nation’s love affair with its cars, millennials and “the creative class” want something else — a walkable place to live, said Christopher Leinberger, an urban strategist and researcher who visited York this week.

That demand for urban life — where people can live, work and play within a relatively small geographic area — is both driving and slowing the economic recovery these days, Leinberger said.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/news/ci_25776014/design-future

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In Downtown Scranton Residential Boom, No Sign Of Slowing

Picture 062Four years ago, there was no residential life along the unit block of Franklin Avenue. By the end of this year, more than 55 apartments could be located along Franklin, between Lackawanna Avenue and Spruce Street.

“It’s about quality of living,” former Mayor Chris Doherty said earlier this month before he left office. “I said from the beginning, fail or success, we will go after downtown living.”

Scranton building contractor and redeveloper Art Russo bought into Mr. Doherty’s concept and his latest downtown project is one of his largest.

He is constructing 21 apartments on the three upper floors at the Bittenbender Building, a four-story, 48,000-square-foot structure at 126-132 Franklin. A sports bar, seafood restaurant and speakeasy-themed jazz club will occupy the 9,000-square-foot first floor.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/in-downtown-scranton-residential-boom-no-sign-of-slowing-1.1615299

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Once Nearly Extinct, Streetcar Gets New Life In US

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) – When the auto plant here closed, this prosperous Wisconsin port city on Lake Michigan lost more than just its largest employer. Its sense of vitality seemed to drain away, and city leaders set out to find something that would inject life into the brick-storefront downtown while the economy went through a transition.

What they came up with was obsolete: an electric streetcar. Kenosha decided to bring back a relic that once clattered around metropolitan areas in pre-war America but was abandoned on the march to modernity.

More than a decade later, the experiment is now popping up all over. More than 30 cities around the country are planning to build streetcar systems or have done so recently. Dallas, Portland and Seattle all have new streetcar lines. Most projects involve spending millions of dollars to put back something that used to be there – often in the same stretches of pavement.

“It goes along with the revival of inner cities all over America,” said Steve Novick, transportation commissioner in Portland, which has spent more than $250 million to replace the lines the city shut down in 1950. “It’s too bad that they weren’t kept here all along.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20131112_ap_043edaa93bec4e16a0a93d2539d71084.html#R3BS9I7CtAX4jqGH.99

You Know, Downtown Pittsburgh Life Can Be Quite Sweet

English: Downtown Pittsburgh

English: Downtown Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was a downtown Pittsburgh resident for the month of Buctober and Ducktober.

A bit of an explanation first: In August, I entered an online contest sponsored by Imagine Pittsburgh, an initiative of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, designed to drum up interest in living in the Golden Triangle. The prize: One month in Millcraft Investment’s River Vue apartment building, the old state office building.

And my room had quite the view, overlooking Point State Park and a spectacular vista including Mt. Washington, and our three rivers. I liked River Vue, which bills itself as luxury apartment living — a lot. It’s quiet, the residents are friendly, and it’s in a great location.

Downtown living was a big change for me. Even though I’ve worked at the Trib on the North Side for more than 31⁄2 years, I’ve always been a suburbanite and have owned a house in Beaver County for more than nine years. I’ve never lived in a big-city, downtown setting.

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/morelifestyles/4941109-74/downtown-river-living#ixzz2jVJqYDn7
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A New Dawn For Downtown Easton

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Dear Bobbleheads on Pottstown Borough Council, please notice Easton is not salivating over Section 8 housing projects and cheap townhomes.  There is job creation, shopping, dining, entertainment and population growth in the coveted 25- 35 y/o demographic and the seniors with disposable income segment. MARKET RATE HOUSING is attracting people with jobs!  Easton had 26,800 people as of the 2010 census so we are talking a Pottstown-sized community. Take a field trip!

“We threw every zoning and land development regulation away,” Bradley said. “We opened the frontier to the investment that happened after that.”

Diane Haviland and her husband, Ken Greene, are empty-nesters who found Easton’s downtown by accident. Preparing for their retirement years in 2010, they bought 4 acres in Harmony Township, N.J., to build their 3,500-square-foot dream home, complete with a pool, library and bar.

They’d rented an apartment in Easton while they built what they assumed would be their last home. The designs were drawn and building permits issued, but as they stood on the empty lot ready to turn the bulldozers loose, Haviland and Greene had a joint epiphany.

“We looked at each other and thought, why would we leave Easton? We love it there,” Haviland said. “So, now I have plans for a beautiful home and 4 acres for sale.”

The couple bought a vacant three-story building on Centre Square.  After a more than $1 million renovation, they’ll rent out the first floor and live out their years in the floors above.

Read more:   http://www.mcall.com/news/local/easton/mc-easton-downtown-boom-20130601,0,4168076,full.story

Pennsylvania’s Two Big Cities Rank High On Urban Vitality Index

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Image via Wikipedia

The Creative Cities International’s “Vitality Index,” has listed our two biggest cities as number eleven and twelve on their list of the top 35 U.S. cities.  The index measures such things as demographics, cultural offerings and recreational amenities, such as parks and trails; as well as conducting surveys of neighborhood life, attitudes and atmosphere.

Pittsburgh ranked number eleven and Philadelphia ranked number twelve.

To read all about the survey, click here:

http://www.creativecities.org/VI%20exec%20summary%20071811.pdf

The Silver Tsunami: Retiring Baby Boomers

An excellent article from the Lansdale Reporter about what impact the gigantic retiring Baby Boomer generation will have on cities.

As a Baby Boomer, I found this very interesting reading.  Learning how cities are coping with increasing senior populations is important to me and I thought it might be to others as well.

To read the article, click here:

http://hosted2.ap.org/PALAP/d3444c3add384b05a39deb3258f13309/Article_2011-07-10-Aging%20America-Age-Friendly%20Cities/id-cc6478c041d742a7a6ef226c7c57db29