Reconsidering Washington Avenue

 

The varied states of land use on Washington Avenue | Photo: Kori Livingston

The varied states of land use on Washington Avenue | Photo: Kori Livingston, for Philadelphia magazine

  • As Philadelphia magazine’s Holly Otterbein examines, South Philly’s Washington Avenue has been many things in its two centuries—an indispensable supply hub for Lincoln’s armies, the pan-Asian gastronomic haven of the 1980s. Now it must confront some very basic questions of identity and space: will the Washington Ave of 2025 (which Bart Blatstein anticipates as having $1 billion dollars in new investment) defer to ramen-laden 18-wheelers or to the baby stroller? While there is broad agreement on the need for bike lanes and judicious rezoning, Otterbein nevertheless sees some tough choices ahead for a corridor that invariably relinquish a great deal of its cherished “grit and so-bad-it’s-good aesthetic.”
  • In a short Youtube video produced by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, Michael and Kevin Bacon honor their father Edmund’s legacy by promoting that organization’s 10th annual (and newly expanded) Better Philadelphia design competition, which asks students and professionals to re-envision Mantua and Belmont as neighborhoods that can “encourage healthy and active lifestyles, thereby improving public health among residents.”
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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