Philadelphia’s empty lots and patches of pavement are going green. This week the Nutter Administration is unveiling a plan to create 500 acres of public green space in Philadelphia.Harris Steinberg is the executive director of PennPraxis, the group that prepared the plan, called Green 20-15. “The plan recognizes that there are more than 200,000 people who do not live within a half mile walk of a park space,” he said. “And it seeks to address that by giving recommendations on how to get parks into those neighborhood.”Steinberg said because of fiscal constraints, the group eyed spots that are already in public ownership – such as recreation centers, schoolyards, public vacant land – as low cost, high impact parks. He pointed out that green space increases property values, helps filter air pollutants, and provides quality of life benefits for residents. The planned “greenspace” doesn’t just mean a patch of grass – the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation said they could be transformed into a variety of things including a grove of trees, a community vegetable garden, or a running track.
Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Michael DiBerardinis says the plans in Green 20-15 could change the city’s future.
“Its connection to quality of life for residents, competitiveness in this Century for the city, a whole raft of environmental values from storm-water runoff to carbon sequestration to peat islands, to healthy neighborhoods.”