I got up before dawn on Wednesday to visit Harvard’s Graduate School of Design for a panel called The Philadelphia Story: Planning, Politics and Reality. Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron* brought Mayor Michael Nutter and his Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Alan Greenberger; Executive Director of PennPraxis, Harris Steinberg; and the Philadelphia Water Department’s Manager of Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Glen Abrams to Harvard to discuss Philadelphia’s planning revival. Saffron co-organized and moderated the panel as part of her Loeb fellowship at Harvard this year.
“The Philadelphia Story” was a Boston roadshow for Philly’s planning rebirth, hitting on familiar storylines of reform politics, professional planning, and civic participation. But sitting in a small auditorium at Harvard, I was reminded of exactly how far Philadelphia has come in only a few years.
We’ve watched the sun rise on a new day for planning in Philadelphia.