Passive, affordable houses in Logan | transpo infrastructure needs funding | Civic Design Review Committee established | Startup PHL to grant $3.5m

Good morning and happy Friday, Streeters. Today is Philly Photo Day, so don’t forget to take a picture today anywhere in the city and submit it (one only) online. We’ll be out on an afternoon photo walk seeking inspiration. Also, as you’ve probably heard, come Sunday we could have some major rain and wind thanks to Sandy. This weekend is a good time to prep: sweep up leaves to make sure your storm drains and gutters are clear.

Here’s this morning’s Buzz:

With three new passive-houses on Belfield in Logan, Onion Flats has proven affordable housing can be affordably built, attractive, and extraordinarily energy-efficient. “This is low-income housing superior to anything Philadelphia has done in half a century. Not only are the rowhouses stylish and modern both inside and out, they are among the most energy-efficient ever built in the United States,” writes Inga Saffron in her Inquirer column today. As architect Tim McDonald of Onion Flats said: “These are zero energy with zero premium, so there should be zero debate. Why would you build it any other way?”

A new report by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission says the region’s crumbling infrastructure needs more funding or we’ll be faced with an era of closed bridges and roads and reduced transit service, the Inquirer reports. The Delaware Valley spends about $1.4 billion on transit, highway, and bridge projects, but the current need is $1.1 billion more, and that number is only going to go up. While the public agrees that infrastructure funding is important, there is scant support for raising the gas tax or tolls to meet that need.

Mayor Nutter appointed six design and development professionals to the city’s first Civic Design Review Committee, reports PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey. The committee was created under the new zoning code as a means to discuss and ascertain the impact of significant development projects on the public realm, prior to Planning Commission review. The committee’s role is advisory, and its first meeting will be on November 6 to review the St. Francis Villa Senior Housing project in Kensington.

The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation are putting $3.5 million into Startup PHL, a two-pronged investment initiative designed to fund startups, reports Technically Philly. The idea is to broaden the reach of the city’s growing tech and startup scene and, of course, create jobs. PIDC is putting up $3 million for a Seed Fund, to be matched and managed by a private investment firm, and the City Commerce Department will put out a broad Call for Ideas, which will receive parts of a $500,000 grant.


The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along. 

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