A Humanist Walks East Market

 

Jan Gehl, 79, poses with a monument to the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, on Independence Mall. | Photo: Ashley Hahn, for Eyes on the Street

Jan Gehl, 79, poses with a monument to the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, on Independence Mall | Photo: Ashley Hahn, for Eyes on the Street

  • Last month Eyes on the Street and PlanPhilly managing editor Ashley Hahn walked the length of East Market Street with Danish urbanist Jan Gehl—in town to receive the 2016 Edmund N. Bacon Prize—picking his brain for reassurance and stimulus. His indefatigable humanism appreciated Market’s generous sidewalks, yet not its bus shelters. He dismissed the bland commercial aesthetics to be had at 4th Street, admired the varied density afforded by the National Museum of American Jewish History, and, thankfully, is encouraged by the reworking of the Gallery and the potential of 8th Street’s “Disney Hole” surface parking lot.
  • AGA Developers is working on some transit-oriented development near the Berks El station in South Kensington, says Shannon Rooney at Philly.com. South Square will have 19 high-end units, rooftop decks, off-street parking, and two ground-floor commercial spaces.
  • Three adjacent Center City properties have been recommended for rezoning—from industrial to CMX-4—by the City Planning Commission: the former Inquirer building, the School District headquarters, and surface parking lot. This would allow Bart Blatstein to bring a 125-room boutique hotel to the “Tower of Truth,” and the Community College of Philadelphia to construct a 500-bed mixed-use student housing facility.
  • The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is arguing that the historical designation of some significant pieces of artwork in the Cathedral Basilica on Logan Square and in St. Augustine’s Church by 4th & Vine Streets would constitute a breach of the separation of church and state, according to KYW Newsradio’s Pat Loeb. The Philadelphia Historic Commission has already awarded such a designation to St. Augustine’s original ceiling frescoes, deftly composed by Nicola Monachesi in 1848, and believed by some to be the oldest of their kind in the country.
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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