December 19: Women-led urbanism | Ghosts of train crashes | Car vending machine

Imagine women-led urbanism in practice and syllabus, urges Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, contributing to Next City. Johnston-Zimmerman points out the maleness of seminal urban texts, the planning and architecture profession, and the contemporary “pop urbanism circuit” (buzzwords coined by men, such as tactical urbanism, walkability, and placemaking), arguing that “gender mainstreaming” in leadership and conversation improves our “fundamentally heterogeneous, intersectional and always evolving urban environments.”

Speaking of women in leadership and the built environment: Clarena Tolson, the first black executive director of the PPA, increased the Authority’s net operating gain by 20 percent. Philadelphia officials have called on the state legislature to restore control of the authority to the city. Yet, argues Jon Geeting, Tolson was replaced by a non-local “who’s specifically been working to further reduce local control of the Authority.” Geeting, contributing to the Philadelphia Citizen, shares a few other reasons why he questions the PPA board’s “extremely fishy” choice.

On envisioning an inclusive shift in the built environment, architects and community builders discussed leadership, representation, and perspective in the design process at last week’s City Lobby: Race & Public Space. Catch the recap and full video here.

Fishtown residents will vote on the zoning appeal for a 75-foot-tall “Car Vending Machine” Tuesday, writes Curbed Philly’s Melissa Romero. New Jersey-based Carvana can build its garage by-right at the vacant site currently zoned CMX-3, but is appealing signage restrictions to “install nine illuminated signs along the building.”

The Amtrak train derailment outside Seattle that killed six is recalling chilling memories recent crashes in the Philadelphia region, writes Jason Laughlin.

Dredge the Schuylkill, or Boathouse Row as we know it will be no more, cautions the Schuylkill Navy River Restoration Committee’s Paul Laskow. In an op-ed for the Inquirer, Laskow explains the current hazardous conditions due to silt accumulation, calling for the action to restore safe and fair access to the river” and to ensure fair competition on the national racecourse. Laskow spoke with PlanPhilly’s Joe Leonard in November about the local rowing community’s efforts to maintain the Schuylkill.

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