Getting A Pedestrian-Driven Main Street Right In Center City


Rendering of Chestnut Walk: National Real Estate Development

Chestnut Walk | Rendering:  National Real Estate Development

  • On Plan Philly, Jon Geeting discusses what he feels to be an under-considered aspect of National Real Estate Development’s plans for 1100 East Market Street: the opportunity for Chestnut Walk to inform planners how viable a “pedestrian-oriented retail street works in the heart of Center City as well as a smaller neighborhood commercial corridor,” the most immediate example of the latter being Northern Liberties’ Liberties Walk. The firm’s designers share their conclusions of which elements are necessary to make East Market work, stating “Among other things, setting the right height for the facades, the right width for the streets, and employing the right materials.”
  • This year’s fourfold expansion of the city’s number of transient “Pop Up” gardens has This Old City reviewing the economic import of past iterations. The numbers are promising, with some 52,000 people stopping by PHS’ South Street West location this year–twice that of last year’s attendance on Broad–and nearby business owners pointing to discernible economic stimulus, as lingering patrons serve to stabilize the usual ebb and flow during the prime beach-weekends during the summer months. Geoff Kees Thompson lauds all of this “magnetism” for its ability to inspire how Philadelphians can think of their neighborhoods, citing the reflections of Bob Dix as he considers the spillover of business to his Bob & Barbara’s Lounge. “It felt like we were looking at the future of the neighborhood,” said Dix. “It jumpstarted a lot of new connections.”
  • On Friday, the University of Pennsylvania will ceremonially break ground on the 52,000-square-foot Pennovation Center, the centerpiece of its South Bank campus. The event will highlight the potential of the university’s new Grays Ferry section–envisioned as an innovation hub–to the Penn community with lectures, tours, and a forum to include biographer Walter Isaacson, who will expand on his latest book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. Primarily a large-scale incubator, The Daily Pennsylvania says that the nearly $50 million campus will also have a veterinary facility and research gardens.
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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