Living The Philadelphia Dream

 

Perspective of the quintessential Philadelphia housing unit at 24th and Kimball Streets, May 11, 1916. | Photo: Department of Records, City of Philadelphia

Perspective of the quintessential Philadelphia housing unit at 24th and Kimball Streets, May 11, 1916. | Photo: Department of Records, City of Philadelphia

  • The Philly History Blog’s Ken Finkel contextualizes a chart, now making the rounds, that proves Philadelphia’s unrivaled preference for the row house. And while that might not be the prototypical feature of the storied American Dream (the single-detached home with its white picket fence), it was basically lauded as such in 1893 by journalist Talcott Williams (friend and occasional model of Thomas Eakins). The fact that some 60% of housing units in Philadelphia are rowhouses is a monument to its populism, “proof that the laws, the habits, and the businesses of a city of one million people can be so arranged that even the day-laborer earning only $8 or $10 a week can own the roof over his head and call no man landlord.”
  • PlanPhilly’s Jon Geeting sits down with Mike Lydon, author of Tactile Urbanism, discussing the latest trends within that genre of place making. Lydon, who cites San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Burlington for innovation in this sphere, says he is now preparing material guides for street safety projects across the entire “spectrum of capacity.” “We’re going to give you the kit of parts, tell you where to get the materials, how much it’ll cost, the pros and cons of using different kinds of materials, so that we’re daylighting the information that makes these projects a success.”
  • In West Philadelphia, the community land trust Life Center Association is seeking a diverse set of people by which to form a new housing cooperative on the 4800 block of Springfield Avenue, says West Philly Local. Responsibility for the monthly rent (a mere $2,100) for the 7-bedroom house will be divided evenly, the general goal being “access to long-term housing for community residents on a break-even basis,” says the LCA.
  • In its pursuit to make this a “City of Arborly Love” as well, Parks and Rec’s Tree Philly program is once again giving out shade and fruit trees to property owners. For more information, click HERE.
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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