Manship Prize Submission

PlanPhilly was created by PennPraxis in the fall of 2006 to support the public planning process for the Central Delaware. 

PlanPhilly was originally conceived as a Web portal for information about planning and development in Philadelphia.  It was launched in conjunction with the planning process and quickly grew to become an indispensible component of the civic engagement and communication strategy developed and employed by PennPraxis.  

Managed and staffed by professional journalists, PlanPhilly, from the outset, brought journalistic integrity and depth of reporting in creating the official record of the project.  By attending, reporting on and maintaining a video record of all public meetings, PlanPhilly enabled Harris Steinberg and his team at PennPraxis to conduct a citizen-driven, open and transparent planning process.  

PlanPhilly was built to provide complete aggregation of all local information on design and planning associated with the Central Delaware River visioning process. This constituency-building coverage enabled citizens of Philadelphia to follow the deep civic engagement and prescriptive evaluation of stakeholders’ core values and principles as PennPraxis conducted its 18-month project, which culminated in an Action Plan for the Central Delaware Riverfront.

PlanPhilly covered every waterfront civic engagement meeting, including allmeetings of the Central Delaware Waterfront Advisory Group. PlanPhilly continunes to cover the monthly meetings of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, an organization comprised of waterfront neighborhood representatives who have organized as watchdogs in these debates. PlanPhilly remainsthe only media at regular meetings of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which was formed out of the ashes of the troubled Penn’s Landing Corporation.

Through the microcosm of the waterfront, PlanPhilly has grown to include beats covering the city’s zoning reform commission, the controversial siting of casinos in the city, historic preservation, the green movement and transportation.

In the four years since the waterfront project, PlanPhilly has increased its outreach capacity to 25,000 unique visitors per
month. The ever growing traffic (we are up unique monthly visits 25% year over year) and readership can be attributed to the journalism that produces more than 40 full articles and notebook items per month, often accompanied by videos and photo slideshows, about planning, design, development, preservation and environmental issues in Philadelphia. The editorial product also includes a well-trafficked events calendar, record-keeping video archive, weekly newsletter, and it acts as a repository for links to mainstream and independent news sources in the region.

This package includes links to two dozen stories that exemplify how thoroughly PlanPhilly covered the waterfront planning process, through on-the-record meeting coverage and explanatory journalism.

Below, we have selected our strongest coverage of the visioning process:

Nov. 20, 2006: Q&A with Harris Steinberg

Nov. 21, 2006: NYC waterfront tour

Dec. 6, 2006: Waterfront walk

Dec. 14, 2006: Riverfront value session compilation

Dec. 29, 2006: Values consolidation

Jan. 8, 2007: Advocacy group feedback on riverfront values

Feb. 4, 2007: Best practice session: the river

Feb. 4, 2007: Best practice session: the city

Feb. 18, 2007: What are riparian rights?

Feb. 19, 2007: Second principle session: Kensington

Feb. 20, 2007: South Philadelphia, longshoremen/values session and protest

Feb. 22, 2007: I-95: Where do we go from here?

March 3, 2007: Design workshop: how 5 waterfront visions formed

April 2, 2007: Initial SS United States story

April 24, 2007: Advisory group discusses Praxis development guidelines

May 6, 2007: Start of zoning  reform coverage

June 4, 2007: Casino process needs sunshine

July 15, 2007: Remnants of our industrial waterfront

Sept. 7, 2007: Low down on high rise hopes

Oct. 8, 2007: Girard Warehouses on brink of extinction

Oct. 16, 2007: Planning commission hears from Praxis

Nov. 14, 2007: Civic Vision for the Delaware presented

June 16, 2008: The action plan is announced

Oct. 21, 2008: The Infrastructure series

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal