New open space for Philadelphia on the horizon

    As part of his Greenworks plan, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has vowed to increase the city’s urban green space by 500 acres.

    As part of his Greenworks plan, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has vowed to increase the city’s urban green space by 500 acres.

    The plan intends to put a park within a ten minute walk of every city resident. The first step is to figure out just what a park is.

    A patch of grass and a bench? Not anymore. Parks are expected to manage stormwater, absorb heat, contribute to overall health, and build a more equitable community.

    The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the urban planning group PlanPhilly are working with the city water department to determine what an urban park is supposed to accomplish.

    PennPraxis director Harris Steinberg says the 500 new acres could connect isolated neighborhoods to the city’s established park system.

    Steinberg:

    Are there ways neighborhoods can gain access through trails or have parks in those neighborhoods that may help the water department manage storm water? Parks are being thought of as being complex, multilayered places as opposed to a patch of green to have a picnic on or throw a Frisbee.

    City residents are invited to participate in public discussions to determine what they want from green space.

    PlanPhilly has scheduled the following public sessions between now and the end of June.

    Green 2015 Community Meetings:

    * Tuesday, May 25, 6:30 pm – Sheet Metal Workers Union, 1301 S. Columbus Blvd., 19147

    * Wednesday, May 26, 6:30 pm – Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha, 2319 N. 7th St., 19140

    * Monday, June 14, 6:30 pm – Germantown Friends School, 31 W. Coulter St., 19144

    * Wednesday, June 16, 6:30 pm – Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd., 19143

    * Monday, June 21, 6:30 pm – Perzel Community Center,2990 Saint Vincent St., 19149

    * Tuesday, June 22, 6:30pm – Phila. Free Library, 1901 Vine Street, 19103

    For more information, go to http://planphilly.com/event/green2015-community-meeting-south-philadelphia

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

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.