The U.S. embassy in London designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm KieranTimberlake and disparaged by President Donald Trump as a “bad deal,” opens today, CNN reports. The firm, best known locally for their design of Dilworth Park, has kept quiet over the diplomatic fracas that surrounds their $1 billion, 12-story glass cube but bets are on that the lunchtime chatter is loud today in their Northern Liberties studio. Back in London, the embassy’s current concrete home, designed by Finnish-American modernist architect Eero Saarinen, will be converted to a luxury hotel. In Philadelphia, the Eero Saarinen-designed Hill House on Penn’s campus proudly reopened its doors late 2017 after a year-long $80 million renovation.
Large Victorian homes, 19th-century churches, and industrial buildings are three species of endangered historic building, writes Hidden City’s Peter Woodall in a new Field Guide to Demolition published in partnership with the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. “The critical thing for policymakers to consider,” Woodall opines,“ isn’t so much the threat to a particular size or type of building, but rather the tremendous development pressure that exists across the board.”
Other consequences of a hot real estate market include more no-go zones for tenants using housing vouchers. Our own Jake Blumgart examines how HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s decision to postpone implementation of an Obama-era fair housing regulation is affecting Philadelphia’s plan to fight segregation. Local advocates call on Mayor Jim Kenney to advance a “bigger and bolder” vision as they confront slow progress to date.
A new report out from the Pew Charitable Trusts offers the latest breakdown of economic diversity within Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. The analysis, which relies on U.S. Census income data, divided all city households into four income groups: low-income, (less than $25,000), moderate-income ($25,000 to $49,999), middle-income ($50,000 to $99,999), and high-income, ($100,000 and above). Pew highlights a few staggering findings, including the fact that there is not a single tract in Philadelphia where the moderate- or middle-income group was in the majority.
Drexel Law professor David S. Cohen, contributing to WHYY News’ Speak Easy, has six fixes for biking in the city. Cohen’s straightforward suggestions include smooth street surfaces, unobstructed bike lanes, and getting rid of left-side bike lanes. In addition to saving cyclists lives and “creating safe space for cyclists,” Cohen argues that a bike-friendly city would amplify Philadelphia’s bid as the “livable” city that Amazon desires for its new headquarters.
PSA from West Philly Local: Garden Court Plaza residents will get to provide feedback this Thursday for the Post Brothers’ proposed two towers atop the building’s existing garage. The community meeting is required as part of the Zoning Board of Adjustments’ variance process.