Block Party Cartography


Detail of map showing the location for each of the 68,553 authorized block parties held from 2006-2016 | Image: Shrobona Karkun, for Plan Philly

Detail of map showing the location for each of the 68,553 authorized block parties held from 2006-2016 | Image: Shrobona Karkun, for PlanPhilly

  • PlanPhilly had GIS analyst Shrobona Karkun map a decade of block parties throughout Philadelphia. The result, as Jon Geeting explains, allows for an atypical analysis of the Philly tradition, from demographic realities such as the Italian-American penchant for prenuptial “serenades,” to the effects of density and land usage. The distribution of the 68,553 street closure permits that comprise the dataset tells us something about the social life of Philadelphians. The summer block party—dumpster pool or not—“jibes with Philly’s flair for the informal. It demonstrates a basic appreciation that our streets can be public spaces for people.”
  • Jacob Adelman reports that a subsidiary of Toll Bros. was granted a zoning permit Wednesday for an 80-unit mixed-use on Jewelers Row, and now is awaiting approval to demolish six of the block’s three-story buildings—on whose upper floors as many as 20 businesses operate. Hy Goldberg, the head of the Jewelers Row Business Association, admits that the proposed 16-story tower at 702-10 Sansom would bring some much needed energy to the street, yet worries that Toll Washington Square will not ensure the return of current ground floor tenants, or that the character of the undesignated historic street will be forever altered. The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has started a petition asking the City’s Director of Planning and Development, Anne Fadullon, to “stop this outrageous and destructive land grab.”
  • West Philadelphia residents received a preliminary presentation on developers Hillel Tsarfati and Kfir Binnfeld’s plans for a nine-story, 160-unit mixed-use project at what is now a parking lot on the southwest corner of 49th and Spruce Streets, reports West Philly Local.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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