Chinatown Community Center symbolism | think bigger at 9th and Washington | debating pop-up urbanism | new Office of Grants | $225k grant supports City Harvest

Stay cool out there today, Streeters. It’s supposed to be 99°, but of course, it’ll feel hotter.

Will the Chinatown Community Center set the bar as a new-era ethnic enclave and economic engine? Flying Kite opines, “Chinatown’s recent progress and the building of the Center is proof positive that ethnic enclaves and immigration are important assets to urban areas and prove to be economic boons for cities.”

Midwood Investments & Development is proposing a single-story retail building and underground garage on the largely vacant southeast corner of 9th and Washington, and Naked Philly rightly wonders if this is the best they can do? It’s a major intersection and it feels like a “missed opportunity” to create residential or office space above the large ground-floor retail spaces.

University City District’s Joe McNulty, writing for Curbed Philly, dives into the debate about the real impact of temporary urban interventions (read pop-up anythings, parklets, yarn bombing etc.). Are we playing urban dress-up or does art actually create real, “vibrant” city life? As McNulty puts it: “Is all this art just artifice, like so much corporate bird-putting. Or can art really act like the philosopher’s stone of urban alchemy, capable of turning blight into vibrant gold?”

The Nutter administration has opened an Office of Grants in order to compete more successfully for public and private grants. The Inquirer reports that Maari Porter, who has been responsible for wrangling the city’s federal stimulus funds, will run the new office. The office will help manage grant and project priorities across city agencies.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced that the Burpee Foundation has given a three-year, $225,000 grant to support its City Harvest greenhouses and gardens at the Northeast Correctional Facility. Prison inmates grow food that is donated to food pantries, cultivate seedlings for City Harvest’s community gardeners, and gain work skills along the way.

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