Possible City

How Spruce Street Harbor Park Succeeds

How Spruce Street Harbor Park Succeeds

June 26, 2014  |  Possible City

In a city of squandered opportunities, here's an intervention that transforms the way we interact with space--and the city. Nathaniel Popkin reviews the new Spruce Street Harbor Park, opening tomorrow > more

How Can You Know What It Means To Be Here

How Can You Know What It Means To Be Here

June 24, 2014  |  Possible City

What explains the power of place, of Fairmount Park especially, to give meaning to our lives? Nathaniel Popkin on three writers drawn to the park, including the great poet Stephen Berg, who died 12 days ago > more

On Revolution Museum, Readers Have Spoken

On Revolution Museum, Readers Have Spoken

March 18, 2014  |  Possible City

Signees of the "Declaration of Architectural Independence" had a lot to say about the proposed design for the Museum > more

PVM, RIP

PVM, RIP

February 10, 2014  |  Possible City

Few could dream the possible city as well as Paul vanMeter, the landscape gardener and founder of ViaductGreene, who died suddenly Thursday. Nathaniel Popkin's tribute > more

A Story In Letters

A Story In Letters

November 21, 2013  |  Possible City

A chance realization leads to this meditation on neighborhood change by Nathaniel Popkin > more

Inside A Stone Castle, They Wish To Throw Up More Bricks

Inside A Stone Castle, They Wish To Throw Up More Bricks

September 25, 2013  |  Possible City

Mother Bethel and Society Hill Civic Association protest a proposed new development for "not fitting in." Nathaniel Popkin wonders if this isn't a double standard > more

Your Lines, Imagined

Your Lines, Imagined

September 4, 2013  |  Possible City

We all dream of subway lines, says Nathaniel Popkin. Tell us yours > more

Painfully Ugly, But Does It Matter?

Painfully Ugly, But Does It Matter?

August 8, 2013  |  Possible City

Everyone knows the city's new hotel, a Home2 Suites at 12th and Arch, is an architectural mess. Do other factors make up for it? Nathaniel Popkin explores the corporate mindset (and gets kicked out of the hotel doing it) > more

Dreamtime In The Possible City

Dreamtime In The Possible City

July 25, 2013  |  Possible City

With the weather changing as it was last night, Nathaniel Popkin finds himself traveling--much farther than the confines of Center City > more

Glimpses Of The Holy Land

Glimpses Of The Holy Land

July 15, 2013  |  Possible City

A traveler can only gather fleeting impressions, says Nathaniel Popkin > more

Anything Can Happen

Anything Can Happen

May 29, 2013  |  Possible City

Our relationship to the city is always evolving, in Nathaniel Popkin's case, a process aided and abetted by the Hidden City Festival > more

Starting Tomorrow, We're Making Our Point

Starting Tomorrow, We’re Making Our Point

May 22, 2013  |  Possible City

This really is a big, complicated city; now let's get out and experience it > more

Only Temporary?

Only Temporary?

May 16, 2013  |  Possible City

All across the city, we've come to rely on temporary interventions. Is this merely an honest approach or evidence of shrunken expectations? > more

The Possible City, 1838

The Possible City, 1838

April 25, 2013  |  Possible City

At the Painted Bride starting tomorrow a PIFA production that explores the urgent lives of white and African-American women who formed the Female Anti-Slavery Society and whose work exploded in the night of May 17, 1838, when Pennsylvania Hall at Sixth and Arch was burned by a violent mob > more

Body Count

Body Count

March 20, 2013  |  Possible City

Having failed once to stop a completely unjustifiable curb cut for a garage last month, Nathaniel Popkin has learned: forget principles of the new zoning code, the only thing that matters to the Zoning Board of Adjustment is bodies. A hearing on two proposed curb cuts at Eighth and South this evening at five will test that theory > more

Death By A Thousand Curb Cuts

Death By A Thousand Curb Cuts

March 6, 2013  |  Possible City

Since he moved into the neighborhood in 1998, says Nathaniel Popkin, dozens of private garages, which act as a repellant to street life, have been built. Now two more near the corner of Eight and South Street are proposed > more

Three Weeks Of Winter Is Over And We're Hungry For Stories

Three Weeks Of Winter Is Over And We’re Hungry For Stories

February 15, 2013  |  Possible City

Send us your story ideas today! > more

Stupid, Lazy, And Cruel

Stupid, Lazy, And Cruel

February 11, 2013  |  Possible City

The Affordable Care Act would expand Medicaid coverage to some 750,000 uninsured Philadelphians, including so many who work in journalism, photography, technology, and the arts, but Governor Tom Corbett has rejected it, another Harrisburg move that will punish Philadelphia foremost > more

The Pretense Of Ornament

The Pretense Of Ornament

February 8, 2013  |  Possible City

This week, we began to search for images of Philly's golden age of jazz, the 1940s-1960s, and so far we've found almost nothing in the archives. But then most of that world is gone--eviscerated. Nathaniel Popkin, with a little help from Joseph Mitchell, laments > more

Goodbye, January Of Crowded Rooms

Goodbye, January Of Crowded Rooms

February 1, 2013  |  Possible City

Cruel January took from my world two extraordinary people; an appreciation of them and their defiant urban spaces > more

He Taught Us To

He Taught Us To “Read” The City

January 24, 2013  |  Possible City

Nathaniel Popkin's ode to Penn urban historian and theorist Seymour Mandelbaum, who died yesterday. Mandelbaum's legacy carries on at Hidden City > more

What Can Work?

What Can Work?

January 16, 2013  |  Possible City

Nathaniel Popkin chews on two mayoral initiatives to tackle poverty and the economy announced yesterday. What exactly can the city do to grow the economy and create jobs? > more

Begin The Begin

Begin The Begin

January 4, 2013  |  Possible City

Is this the year for inventive and elevating art and architecture? Nathaniel Popkin finds a sign in a Mummers Parade breakthrough > more

Find A Political Solution On Church Of The Assumption

Find A Political Solution On Church Of The Assumption

December 6, 2012  |  Possible City

Before we rob our future, says Nathaniel Popkin, political pressure can force the owner of the Church of the Assumption to allow the appeals process to continue before starting demolition. We'll never be able to replace the church's strange beauty > more

Philly.completely Vacuous (Updated)

Philly.completely Vacuous (Updated)

November 29, 2012  |  Possible City

A redesign gave us hope for the region's most important news website, but that was until news was shunted for gossip, faux news, and shopping > more

Pearls Of The Delaware

Pearls Of The Delaware

November 27, 2012  |  Possible City

Is there a future for the small cities strung along the Delaware? > more

You Can Feel The Difference

You Can Feel The Difference

November 14, 2012  |  Possible City

If confidence has seeped into our civic conversation, there is a very real reason, says Nathaniel Popkin: continued growth > more

What Would Frank Think?

What Would Frank Think?

November 5, 2012  |  Possible City

We have a week of insights and great stories about Philadelphia's greatest architect Frank Furness during the second annual Frank Furness Week here on the Hidden City Daily--plus the launch of our highly anticipated crowd funding campaign > more

Even Accidental Geography May Be

Even Accidental Geography May Be “Destiny”

October 31, 2012  |  Possible City

Philadelphia was largely spared by Sandy, while its erstwhile neighbor to the north was not. Does this have something to do with urban geography? > more

In Palimpsests, A Way Of Thinking About Preservation

In Palimpsests, A Way Of Thinking About Preservation

October 30, 2012  |  Possible City

It's the layers of the city that give it energy and interest. How can we account for them in rethinking preservation? > more

Why North Broad Matters

Why North Broad Matters

October 26, 2012  |  Possible City

The street of dreams, if ever there was one, writes Nathaniel Popkin, a chance to regain a central plot line of the Philadelphia story > more

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs?

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs?

October 25, 2012  |  Possible City

As Bart Blatstein boasts about the prospects for his French-themed casino-proposal, Darrell Clarke strategizes the city's economy. Silly money following even sillier ideas > more

“Ruin Porn” Leaves Us Forlorn

October 23, 2012  |  Possible City

The "ruin porn" tag was put on our tours and events schedule; we think we're offering something that's quite a bit more--we want to make people alive to the city's possibilities > more

How To Save Buildings

How To Save Buildings

October 18, 2012  |  Possible City

It's a startling morning when preservation makes the news, not once, but twice, in compelling articles by two of the best architecture critics writing today, says Nathaniel Popkin, and they offer rigorous thinking on the complexities and challenges of protecting and passing down iconic buildings > more

A Note On The Silence Of The Morning

A Note On The Silence Of The Morning

October 8, 2012  |  Possible City

When the weather changed yesterday, the windows were pulled shut. The seasonal retreat begins > more

At Penn's New Park, Too Much Green Leaves Me Cold

At Penn’s New Park, Too Much Green Leaves Me Cold

September 25, 2012  |  Possible City

As in Penn Park, there is real ambition behind the just-opened Shoemaker Green on 33rd Street, writes Nathaniel Popkin, but the new public space leaves its star--the Cathedral of Basketball, the Palestra--lost in the woods > more

Breakthrough At The King Of Jeans

Breakthrough At The King Of Jeans

September 24, 2012  |  Possible City

An additional floor turns a fine remake of the iconic South Philly corner into a moving piece of contemporary design, writess Nathaniel Popkin > more

Inquirer Calls Toll Brothers 'Hip' And Other Mistruths This Morning

Inquirer Calls Toll Brothers ‘Hip’ And Other Mistruths This Morning

September 11, 2012  |  Possible City

Fundamentally backwards architecture gets reclassified this morning by the city's paper of record. Can we end this fantasy Federalist nonsense, asks Nathaniel Popkin, and open up a real conversation about contemporary architecture? > more

Raising Expectations In The Lower Northeast

Raising Expectations In The Lower Northeast

August 13, 2012  |  Possible City

One of the most diverse places in the city is growing; on the Daily this week we have coverage and analysis on plans for Frankford, Northwood, Lawncrest, Summerdale, and Oxford Circle > more

The Remarkably Long Journey To Bart

The Remarkably Long Journey To Bart

August 3, 2012  |  Possible City

For a neighborhood to reverse severe decline, it takes more than urban pioneers, writes Nathaniel Popkin. Here's the case of the Northern Liberties, whose current state was neither inevitable, or even likely three decades ago > more

Reason For Optimism

Reason For Optimism

July 30, 2012  |  Possible City

Buried in the report on SEPTA's award for best transit agency: ridership is up. That's a key vital sign for the city > more

Souvenirs From A Confident City

Souvenirs From A Confident City

July 19, 2012  |  Possible City

What Popkin brings back from Barcelona: a taste of a city that's self-aware, assertive, and proud--it wasn't always on top, he reminds us > more

Upping The Ante At Hawthorne Park

Upping The Ante At Hawthorne Park

July 10, 2012  |  Possible City

Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects' brilliant design for the new Hawthorne Park sets a new standard for neighborhood public space--and proves we can build smart and beautiful > more

Which Contexts Matter?

Which Contexts Matter?

June 20, 2012  |  Possible City

In the Museum of the American Revolution, Robert A.M. Stern set out to design something that "could never have been built anywhere else." The result is the exact opposite--and a lost opportunity for Philadelphia > more

Looking For Revolutionary Architecture? You Won't Find It At The New Museum Of The American Revolution

Looking For Revolutionary Architecture? You Won’t Find It At The New Museum Of The American Revolution

June 11, 2012  |  Possible City

Design for the new museum, at Third and Chestnut, to be revealed Tuesday, is far more reactionary and narrowly construed than was even expected > more

The Next Question

The Next Question

June 11, 2012  |  Possible City

On Friday, the Historical Commission gave the green light to the Episcopal Cathedral's desire to demolish two 19th century brownstones at 38th and Chestnut. Now that the expected verdict has been handed down, it's time to focus on what's to come--and to demand it be worthy of preservation in the future > more

In Praise Of Sister Cities

In Praise Of Sister Cities

May 14, 2012  |  Possible City

A game-changing installation on Logan Square becomes an effective hinge between Center City and the Parkway and a powerful argument for enlivening our public spaces > more

(Sky) Lines And Memories, Redux

(Sky) Lines And Memories, Redux

May 9, 2012  |  Possible City

In memory of Maurice Sendak, Nathaniel Popkin explores the urbanism of the great children's author and illustrator, who died this week > more

Gods of Water

Gods of Water

May 8, 2012  |  Possible City

Not since the creation of the gardens of Babylon in the first or second century BCE, has a city sough such delight (and the affirmation of engineering) in reflecting pools, jets, mist, tumbling water, and spray > more

Let's Get To Work

Let’s Get To Work

April 12, 2012  |  Possible City

If we want buildings like Buck Hosiery to be assets rather than catastrophic liabilities then we need to create preservation tools for workplaces, mills, and factories. With another historically important mill sitting vulnerable across the street, the imperative is now, says Nathaniel Popkin > more

Dead Men Speaking

Dead Men Speaking

April 6, 2012  |  Possible City

With the help of the New York Times, Popkin talks existential doubt, preservation, and Chicago's bold vision for its future > more

Why Fever 1793 Resonates

Why Fever 1793 Resonates

April 4, 2012  |  Possible City

It's a story of global interconnections, 18th century style, says the film's writer Nathaniel Popkin > more

The Long View

The Long View

March 21, 2012  |  Possible City

From the once capital of Sicily, 882 years in the shadows, Popkin ruminates on the growth and decline of the City of Brotherly Love--all cities lose population, he discovers > more

Zaha Fantasy

Zaha Fantasy

March 20, 2012  |  Possible City

Hadid's architecture is urbanism of the future--and it's happening right now all over the the world. Shouldn't Philadelphia take part? With the Iraqi-English architect's show at the PMA closing Sunday, imagining her visit next time > more

Look Up, Philly, 1 Or 2 Lessons From Triumphant NY

Look Up, Philly, 1 Or 2 Lessons From Triumphant NY

March 6, 2012  |  Possible City

Name a city that has shrunk by 700,000 from its peak population--answer Manhattan and we're on to to something > more

Late Afternoon In The Impossible City

Late Afternoon In The Impossible City

February 27, 2012  |  Possible City

A beautiful Sunday, a blue river, and the heroic vision of a trail through dystopia > more

A Man Has His Moments

A Man Has His Moments

February 24, 2012  |  Possible City

Is this yours? We want you to get on our Soapbox > more

The Surprising World of Google Street View

The Surprising World of Google Street View

February 21, 2012  |  Possible City

Artist Jon Rafman collects the bizarre, the frightening, the absurd, the beautiful by combing Google Street View > more

Old Story, New Chapter, No Resolution

Old Story, New Chapter, No Resolution

February 17, 2012  |  Possible City

The Governor's antipathy toward the city goes back three centuries and has successfully divided us against ourselves > more

The English Garden Beneath The Barnes

The English Garden Beneath The Barnes

February 13, 2012  |  Possible City

The almost finished new museum is on the exact site of Thomas Penn's manor house Springettsbury, named for his mother Gulielma Springett > more

A Day In The Possible City

A Day In The Possible City

January 30, 2012  |  Possible City

Antidote for the winter blues? A day exploring the newest section of the Schuylkill Banks and then the Reading Viaduct > more

Not So Literate City

Not So Literate City

January 27, 2012  |  Possible City

Philadelphia ranks painfully low among the American cities in an index of literacy created by Connecticut State University > more

The Real Valley Of Sorrow

The Real Valley Of Sorrow

January 26, 2012  |  Possible City

Never mind the response to the death of Joe Paterno. Once a day, someone in this city is killed. Everyday in Philly we weep > more

Cities Without Beginning Or End

Cities Without Beginning Or End

January 23, 2012  |  Possible City

By 2030, the UN forecasts 36 mega-cities, a billion urban Chinese in 221 cities of a million or more, 6 Indian mega-cities... > more

2012: No Predictions, Only Questions

2012: No Predictions, Only Questions

January 16, 2012  |  Possible City

Here are the questions--some big, some small--we're asking as 2012 begins > more

Wistful For Modern

Wistful For Modern

January 12, 2012  |  Possible City

Forget the colonial city or the 19th century city, what happened to the muscular city of the mid-20th century? > more

Parking Dreams And Parking Nightmares

Parking Dreams And Parking Nightmares

January 6, 2012  |  Possible City

In a nation of some 500 million (or more!) surface parking spaces, gratitude for a little progress > more

Market Dreams

Market Dreams

January 5, 2012  |  Possible City

Seeking stories, pictures, stories, memories, locations, buildings, ghosts of food, dry goods, and flower markets in Philadelphia > more

The Other Grid At 200

The Other Grid At 200

January 4, 2012  |  Possible City

Our grid a compromise with nature, New York's "obliteration," and a "creative template" > more

Answering Roosevelt Island

Answering Roosevelt Island

December 21, 2011  |  Possible City

With the $350 million gift to Cornell University fueling a New York City high tech resurgence, wither Philadelphia? > more

Václav Havel at Independence Hall

Václav Havel at Independence Hall

December 19, 2011  |  Possible City

In his speech before several hundred, Havel imagined human rights embedded in "transcendence" of religious and cultural differences, "a single interconnected civilization." > more

Origin Of The 99 Percent?

Origin Of The 99 Percent?

December 16, 2011  |  Possible City

Not Stiglitz or Marx, but Philadelphia's own crusading novelist George Lippard, 1849 and connections to Occupy Philadelphia > more

Battersea But Better

Battersea But Better

December 13, 2011  |  Possible City

Philadelphia Electric Company's monumental power stations on the Delaware: truly "palazzos of power" > more

How To Start A Week

How To Start A Week

December 12, 2011  |  Possible City

How do we understand the city--in stats, in rankings? Borges has another idea > more

Removing Highways And Stitching Squares

Removing Highways And Stitching Squares

December 9, 2011  |  Possible City

The campaign to remove 3 miles of I-95 through Center City and putting a lid on a small section I-676 through Logan Square > more

Can We Stay And Chat A While?

Can We Stay And Chat A While?

December 7, 2011  |  Possible City

We aim to explore, expose, and elevate and we want to keep doing it with you > more

What's Your Favorite Public Space?

What’s Your Favorite Public Space?

December 5, 2011  |  Possible City

We at Hidden City would like to hear a little bit about those spaces--big or small, central or far-flung, hidden, forgotten, or forlorn--that make city life so remarkable. > more

High Speed Buses?

High Speed Buses?

November 29, 2011  |  Possible City

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a relatively cheap and transformative investment, is under consideration for the Roosevelt Boulevard > more

The Literal City

The Literal City

November 28, 2011  |  Possible City

A simplistic interpretation of history is dumbing down our architecture and making this city seem a whole lot less interesting than it really is. > more

Sea Foam City

Sea Foam City

November 21, 2011  |  Possible City

We asked for a metaphor for the form of Philadelphia. The winning idea gets to spatial patterns as well as relationships among neighborhoods and the city to the outside world > more

How We're Moving Apart

How We’re Moving Apart

November 16, 2011  |  Possible City

A damning series of maps on how Philly represents the nation's growing spatial inequality. No longer the industry-driven bastion of the middle class, our neighborhoods are increasing very rich or very poor > more

Recipe For Success

Recipe For Success

November 15, 2011  |  Possible City

Q & A with Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation. "People are eating their way through the city," she says. Plus Levitz on the way the city has changed and the hope for the new Museum of the American Revolution > more

Rise Up

Rise Up

November 10, 2011  |  Possible City

A billion people live in high rises world wide, says HIGHRISE, an engaging planning and documentary film project > more

Go West Young Man

Go West Young Man

November 9, 2011  |  Possible City

Frank Furness loved the west, but he was hardly the first Philadelphian drawn there > more

Thanks, Frank

Thanks, Frank

November 7, 2011  |  Possible City

Frank Furness taught me how to the see the city; he offers us another lesson for today > more

Land Of Expectations

Land Of Expectations

November 3, 2011  |  Possible City

Why is it our urban expectations are growing? > more

Understanding Zaha

Understanding Zaha

November 1, 2011  |  Possible City

Another look at Soviet art and architecture and the work of Zaha Hadid > more

Cantonese Connection

Cantonese Connection

October 31, 2011  |  Possible City

While Governor Corbett declines to be a leader on transit, our old friends in Guangzhou build a metro model for the world > more

Scrambled? Another Contest

Scrambled? Another Contest

October 26, 2011  |  Possible City

An British architect posits the egg theory of cities, but we don't think it fits Philadelphia so we're asking you to do better > more

It's Not Just Hollywood

It’s Not Just Hollywood

October 25, 2011  |  Possible City

Joe Queenan takes on the imprecise use of city names in movies > more

Cultchah!

Cultchah!

October 24, 2011  |  Possible City

Philly nails the top five in all categories for culture in Travel and Leisure's reader survey of best American cities and was voted number one city for culture in America > more

What It Means To Create

What It Means To Create

October 21, 2011  |  Possible City

Urban violence, destruction, and the instinct to invent > more

Warming Up in 19125

Warming Up in 19125

October 19, 2011  |  Possible City

Observing the continuing evolution of what was once called White Town USA > more

If All The World Were A City...

If All The World Were A City…

October 13, 2011  |  Possible City

...everyone would fit in Texas (if we lived at the density of New York) > more

Power To Transform

Power To Transform

October 12, 2011  |  Possible City

DesignPhiladelphia's Hilary Jay on NYC's success in employing design to enliven the city > more

Power of Place, The Sobering View

Power of Place, The Sobering View

October 11, 2011  |  Possible City

New research corroborates what seems obvious: your neighborhood impacts your life chances > more

City Hall Matters

City Hall Matters

October 7, 2011  |  Possible City

Even before its completion, City Hall was the stage for protest against greed and inequality > more

Copenhagenize Us: Next Year

Copenhagenize Us: Next Year

October 6, 2011  |  Possible City

The urban bike experts are watching Philadelphia's progress, likely to crack the rankings in 2012 > more

Plug 'n Share

Plug ‘n Share

October 5, 2011  |  Possible City

Electric car share gets a jolt in Paris, and yes, here in Philly > more

Wild New Ways

Wild New Ways

October 4, 2011  |  Possible City

Exploring the darkness with Bram Stoker and Maurice Sendak at the Rosenbach > more