December 16: Reopening Vaux High School | DIY bike lane | Conservatorship for Willow steam plant

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Sharswood is getting a new high school. Avi Wolfman-Arent and Darryl Murphy report that the School District plans to reopen Vaux High School as a new college preparatory high school managed by The Big Picture network. “The school building, which was closed in 2013, will be purchased by the Philadelphia Housing Authority for $2 million as a part of the redevelopment of the Sharswood neighborhood. The PHA will invest an extra $10-15 million in renovations and provide an annual subsidy of $500 to the students attending the school.” In PHA’s Sharswood/Blumberg Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan, Vaux is one of two closed schools that was viewed as prime for reuse.

Samantha Melamed explains how a DIY bike lane near Penn, blocked with orange cones, managed to stay on the street for years.

Scioli Turco is taking on its biggest conservatorship project yet, the Willow Steam Plant in Callowhill/Chinatown North. Inga Saffron explains a bit about how conservatorship works and what it would mean for the moody, rusted, and contaminated former steam plant. We reported on Scioli Turco’s work at the Chinatown Cultural Center.

Need a refresher on just what has happened to create a “perfect storm” around Jewelers’ Row? Hayden Mittman explains in a Philly Weekly piece how Toll Brothers’ controversial project to demolish five Jewelers’ Row buildings to make way for a new 29-story tower has advanced to date.

How Durham, NC used historic preservation to revive a working class neighborhood and help control the forces of gentrification by mitigating speculative development. “From the policy side of things, we often talk about low-income neighborhoods as though they wouldn’t want nice things. I think this was a beautiful and poignant tossing away of that narrative,” said Preservation Durham’s Ben Fillippo.

How cities respond to air pollution is radically different – from telling people not to exercise to curbing automotive traffic. The Guardian explores solutions from cities around the world. 

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