September 27: Demolition oversight changes | University City real estate boom | Air pollution art | Germantown street renamed | Pearl Street transformation kickoff

Happy Friday, Eyes on the Street! Here is some end of the week news for you. 

A City Council committee recommended 71 “workable and essential” changes in the way the city oversees demolition projects in hopes that these changes will help avoid future building collapses. Recommendations include items such as site-safety plans for every demolition site, an independent site-safety manager for buildings taller than three-stories, an expanded L&I inspection force and a more prominent role for the fire department.

University City District’s (UCD) annual report tallies more than $3.5 billion in new or recently completed construction work and more than 2.6 million square feet of announced or finished projects. According to the report, the neighborhood employed more than 72,000 people. That’s up from 50,000 people in 2001. The Philadelphia Business Journal sat down with UCD Executive Director Matt Bergheiser to learn more

Digital artist Andrea Polli is using light and air pollution to liven up Broad Street. Her “Particle Falls” exhibit is projecting colorful light onto the face of the Wilma Theater. Normally the lights flash blue and white, but when there is a lot of particle pollution, you start to see orange and red dots flickering over the wall. A nearby air-quality monitor, called a nephelometer, powers the display and takes a new reading every 15 seconds. 

City Council voted to rename the Germantown block of Emlen Street between Johnson and Upsal streets in honor of Rev. Dr. G. Daniel Jones, the recently retired senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown. Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced the resolution based on the impact Jones and his church have had on the neighborhood. 

For years Pearl Street, despite its name, has been yet another Philly alley strewn with rotting wooden boards and plastic wrappers and marked with dumpsters and steel loading doors. Now, the Asian Arts Initiative is leading a project to transform the four-block street into a destination complete with art, color, light and spirit. Saturday AAI is hosting a community block party to kick off the work ahead, which has been made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. 

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