On the first weekend of May every year, PlanPhilly is the local hub for Jane’s Walk, a global festival of citizen-led walking tours toward community-based urbanism. They’re inspired by the legacy of writer and activist Jane Jacobs, and each walk is a chance to talk about our city’s history, design, and public environment in real time, in person, in the street.
To extend the reach of the festival, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation enabled Jane’s Walk to offer “Eyes on the Street” microgrants to support ideas hatched during neighborhood walks in Knight cities to help locals promote positive community-driven change.
We’re proud to announce that one of the recipients this year was the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance (YFPA) to support its ongoing advocacy efforts in Sharswood.
For the 2016 festival YFPA steering committee members Lynn Alpert and Andrew Hart organized the walk “Searching for Sharswood,” which sought to shine a light on the neighborhood’s history as well as the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s half-billion dollar initiative to remake the neighborhood surrounding the former Norman Blumberg Apartments.
The $500 microgrant isn’t huge but it will help support YFPA ‘s advocacy work in Sharswood. Alpert says it will go towards programming that celebrates and showcases the neighborhood. YFPA hopes to share work produced over the last year PennDesign, Philadelphia University, and Temple students in close collaboration with neighborhood residents and advocates, focused on preservation, sustainable growth, and the housing authority’s advancing redevelopment plans. The group hopes to mount an exhibition in two locations, including one in the neighborhood, and host a public discussion.
Alpert says the group continues its advocacy work around Sharswood’s history and future, and hopes to be a bridge between the community and city at large by raising awareness of what is happening on the ground in the neighborhood. To get closer to that change, anyone interested is invited to attend one of the regular Sharswood Walk & Watch events or check in at the Brewerytown/Sharswood Community Civic Association monthly meetings at Camelot Academy (26th and Jefferson streets) on third Thursdays.