Panorama 2019

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VOLUME 27 // SPRING 2019

Cover: Members of the Philadelphia Tenants Union (PTU) at the City Council Hearing when Good Cause Bill 170854 was passed. The bill provides more protection for Philly renters against unfair evictions. “Good (Just) Cause Campaign.� Philadelphia Tenants Union, 2019,



his year marks my second as the chair of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design Department of City Planning, and I could not be more proud of the work our students are doing. Every day in our classrooms and out in the field, they apply new technology to vexing problems, challenge conventional theory, and build the kind of toolkits they need to improve our world. The unique political moment we’re living in has highlighted challenges in which planners must play important roles, and our students are diving right in. From climate change to sustainable development to trauma-informed planning, this issue of Panorama highlights the ways our students have taken the skills and perspectives they’ve developed here at Penn and applied them to the most pressing problems of our time, both domestically and internationally. This year’s edition of Panorama, which includes articles from across Penn’s Weitzman School of Design, illustrates the reach, range and collaborative nature of the field of planning. From the streets of Warsaw to fire ravaged Southern California; the legal barriers to comprehensive user engagement sites in Philadelphia to the psychology behind wayfinding, if planning is involved, so are our students. The 2019 edition of Panorama is packed full of examples of the work Penn students take on every day. I hope you’ll enjoy this issue of Panorama as much as I have. It’s my honor to work with so many talented students, and this journal is proof positive that good work will move the needle.

Lisa J. Servon Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning

Lisa Servon was previously Professor of Management and Urban Policy at The New School, where she also served as Dean at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. She conducts research in the areas of urban poverty, community development, economic development, and issues of gender and race. Specific areas of expertise include economic insecurity, consumer financial services, and financial justice. Servon holds a BA in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College, an MA in History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UC Berkeley.

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elcome to the 27th edition of Panorama, the Weitzman School of Design’s City and Regional Planning journal. As a student-run publication, we strive to share the best and most innovative work from our peers: the next leaders in planning and design. The work included in this edition of Panorama explores critical planning issues from the U.S. and around the world—navigating innovations in mobility, creativity, and sensitivity in design, integrity in preservation, and confronting the trauma caused by planning’s past. In addition, this journal showcases several City Planning studios that make up the core of our graduate work. This year’s studios ranged from designing for social and environmental resilience in the wake of Hurricane Maria to envisioning a Philadelphia free from traffic-related deaths; from softening a post-conflict landscape in Colombia to policy-driven approaches tackling sea level rise in Rhode Island. Each studio embodies students’ passion for driving change in the midst of planning’s most difficult issues. While the range of topics in this publication is wide, each piece represents a facet of planning’s future and the critical decisions that planners must make. It is our pleasure to share the 2019 edition of Panorama with you. Yours, The Panorama Editors

(left to right) Selina Cheah, Copy Editor Alexandra Zazula, Senior Copy Editor Jessica Klion, Senior Copy Editor

Tiffany Hudson, Copy Editor Claire Jaffe, Graphics Editor Danielle Lake, Senior Graphics Editor

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Selina Cheah is a Copy Editor for Panorama and a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Urban Design. Originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Selina has since moved around the major East Coast cities before landing in Philly. With a background in journalism and urban studies, she’s passionate about bringing voices to people through design. She loves waterfront parks, exploring new and familiar cities on foot, and broccoli.

Tiffany Hudson is a Copy Editor for Panorama and a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Community and Economic Development. Originally from rural Indiana, she claims Cincinnati as her adopted hometown. Tiffany is interested in economic mobility, environmental justice, and Venn diagrams.

Claire Jaffe is a Graphics Editor for Panorama and a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Urban Design, but she is equal parts transit nerd and design nerd. In her limited free time, she enjoys consuming all types of art from galleries to the public realm, scrolling through niche Wikipedia articles, and finding the perfect font for every situation.

Jessica Klion is a Senior Copy Editor for Panorama and a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. Jessica loves baking brownies and buttermilk biscuits and is looking forward to the day when her baking is not fueled by stress.

Danielle Lake is a Senior Graphics Editor for Panorama and a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student in the Urban Design concentration. With graduation on the horizon, Danielle hopes to remain in Philadelphia working to design equitable space in the public realm. She loves any excuse to travel and can’t wait for more free time to paint, run, and knit (even though it makes her sneeze).

Alexandra Zazula is a Senior Copy Editor for Panorama and a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student trying her hand at Urban Design. She simply wants to make people’s lives easier through thoughtful planning and design, and is committed to green spaces and Double Stuf Oreos alike. She can’t wait for warm weather so that her bike lock will stop freezing and she can read books in Fairmount Park.

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Figure 1: A protestor is apprehended in Southwest Philadelphia.

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lanners are full of shit. As cities across the nation deal with the urgency of aging infrastructure, increasing inequality, and climate change, planners appear to be playing Boggle. Nonsensical and ambiguous buzzwords such as “Community,” “Community Engagement,” “Sustainability,” “Resilience,” and “Equity” are driving the discussion of placemaking and climate change adaptation. Albeit well-intentioned, an inability to focus these themes historically, socially, and spatially have produced “unintended consequences” (buzzword for planners who have failed at planning). Place-based investments, such as tax increment financing, business improvement districts, and iterations of enterprise zones, have been applauded for improving ‘communities.’ However, it is questionable whether place-based investments have improved neighborhoods or the lives of people residing in a neighborhood when the investment occurs. Literature suggests that these investments typically have adverse impacts on the people they are intended to help and tend to be too narrow in their scope.1,2,3 In other words, place-based investments simply mirror historical patterns of top-down, white patriarchal planning that produce racially disparate outcomes. As the critical mass of planners dedicated to addressing historical patterns of inequality grows, the argument is not being made that investment is not needed in underinvested neighborhoods–it is. Rather, planners and institutions need a holistic and integrated approach to guide investments. This paper will illustrate the shortfalls of place-based investment in lieu of soft infrastructure funding through the case study of Southwest Philadelphia. First, this paper

discusses why planners, although well-intentioned, continue contributing to disparate outcomes. Then using Southwest Philadelphia as a case study, this paper will demonstrate how these shortcomings are playing out in current efforts to redevelop Southwest Philadelphia.

WHY PL ANNERS FAIL While planners operate spatially, they seldom think spatially. Scholars agree that space is a market for capital accumulation, involves direct governmental action, and is socially situated.4,5,6,7 These theoretical notions reveal the role of human agency, including planners, in using racial and gender hierarchies to valuate space.8 When planners operate spatially in exercising police power to establish land use patterns, they are legally obligated to consider the welfare of the public or the ‘community.’9 Since communities do not have real defined boundaries, it is difficult to develop metrics for the distribution and opportunity of place-based investment. Without metrics to monitor and account for investments, neighborhood planning is reduced to Census data and counting episodes of ‘community engagement.’ ‘Engaging’ the community takes the shape of charrettes, social media polls, and sticking dots on a poster. Using the ‘community’ as a unit of analysis has led to planning and redevelopment efforts that are too narrow in scope, yielding unintended consequences. The neighborhood is a much more appropriate unit of analysis for developing metrics to assess the impact of planning and policy grounded in land use. First, neighborhoods are defined and agreed

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Figure 2: Council head gets an ear-full of Eastwick resident complaints.

upon spatial boundaries. Second, neighborhoods are ecological, economic, and social systems that shape an individual’s access to social goods. Neighborhoods are more than just buildings, commercial corridors, the public realm, and transportation networks. Holistically, the health of a neighborhood lies in its hard and soft infrastructure. Hard infrastructure is “the physical improvements that determine economic development and promote economic organization and growth in a specific location,” while soft infrastructure is the human capital and institutional relations that cultivate this growth, such as government agencies, legal and political arrangements, community-based organizations, and universities.10 When investment in hard infrastructure is deployed in concert with investment in soft infrastructure, synergies emerge.11 When hard and soft infrastructure are not planned in concert, we then focus on singular issues that do not address the root causes of poverty, inequality, and disinvestment. For instance, urban renewal projects through the 60s and 70s sought to increase the value of cities by clearing slums, relocating residents, and replacing the slums with new buildings. As we now know, urban renewal projects did little to reduce poverty in cities and did not account for larger structural processes occurring at the time, such as suburbanization and deindustrialization. Yet even today, as we are seeing in Southwest Philadelphia, programs like CHOICE


Neighborhoods mirror urban renewal by taking the same narrow, top-down approach to redevelopment.

SOUTHWEST PHIL ADELPHIA Southwest Philadelphia is a youthful and diverse neighborhood experiencing long-term economic, social, and environmental hardship. Plagued by a legacy of deindustrialization, suburbanization, and segregation, Southwest Philadelphia continues to experience a decline in population and incomes, alongside increases in poverty, unemployment, and crime. However, the following trends signal an opportunity in Southwest Philadelphia: 1. Philadelphia’s 10-year property tax abatement makes real estate development lucrative where it may not have been before. 2. The growth of University City is creating demand for student, rental housing in Southwest Philadelphia where the market is slowly responding to this need. 3. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation’s Lower Schuylkill Master Plan (LSMP) is seeking to create thousands of jobs by clustering high-tech manufacturing and logistics in Southwest Philadelphia, increasing the demand for workforce housing.


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Figures 3-5: Urban renewal’s promise did not match its impact in Eastwick.

4. The CHOICE neighborhood planning process is in the early stages of negotiating the redevelopment of the Schuylkill riverfront. 5. SEPTA is planning to modernize its trolley system, which will provide faster and more frequent trolley service in Southwest Philadelphia. The LSMP and CHOICE Neighborhood grant represent two of the primary conduits for investment in the area. In addition, SEPTA’s Trolley Modernization and the Opportunity Zones (created in the 2017 federal tax bill) are bringing new capital to the neighborhood. The LSMP proposes attracting companies to the area through opening the riverfront to public enjoyment by extending the Schuylkill trail, meeting companies halfway in soil, water remediation, and stormwater management requirements, and by realigning the street grid through construction of a new road running through a 500-unit public housing project, Bartram Village. The CHOICE Neighborhood grant is a $1.3 million federal grant awarded for the purpose of creating a plan to redevelop Bartram Village into a mixed-income ‘community.’ The program stresses the importance of seeking ‘community’ input throughout the planning process. This is merely window dressing. In reality, CHOICE Neighborhoods is a demolition plan supporting the PIDC’s plans of removing current residents from land that is prime for development. The LSMP and CHOICE Neighborhoods are both symptomatic of a legacy of promoting economic development through the removal of low-income residents. Displacement and demolition are all too familiar to Southwest Philadelphia residents. During the 50s and 60s, Eastwick (the southernmost section of Southwest Philadelphia) was home to the nation’s

largest urban renewal project. Despite resistance from residents, nearly 2,500 people were displaced from Eastwick to promote economic development. This urban renewal episode failed to meet its goal of saving the area from the economic decline of deindustrialization and support the growth of Philadelphia International Airport. At the same time, it managed to destroy the most racially-integrated community in Philadelphia at the time under the auspices of creating a racially-integrated “city within a city.”12 Urban renewal has since been the primary method of redevelopment in Southwest Philadelphia, yielding unintended consequences. After all, if the problem is socioeconomic, how does tearing down homes solve this problem? Like urban renewal, LSMP and CHOICE Neighborhoods are framed as having the potential to transform quality of life for residents. However, without careful consideration of historical patterns of investment in the neighborhood and the social protections neighborhood residents need to integrate into a changing economy, LSMP and CHOICE are doomed to yield unintended consequences. Many residents are at risk of being priced out of the neighborhood if such plans come to fruition. Jobs are being imported that don’t match the skills and education levels of many of the residents. Housing market trends are positioned to balloon further beyond low-income residents’ capacity to pay. Finally, programs and tools are not being created so that residents have access to capital and pathways to share in the investment coming into the neighborhood.

THERE IS STILL HOPE The CHOICE Neighborhood grant, LSMP, and Opportunity Zones could be exercised in such a way to intervene in this trajectory. Simply knocking down public housing will not improve the quality

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Figure 6: Southwest Philadelphia residents gather together.

of life of residents. Instead, a systems approach to neighborhood planning where housing is understood in relation to education, employment, health, and wealth will produce more meaningful results.13 For example, when residents have low educational levels, employment pathways with livable wages are increasingly difficult to access. In turn, income is constrained and access to health care, healthy foods, and affordable housing is compromised, leaving households in a financially dire situation and vulnerable to displacement. ACANA, Southwest Philadelphia District Services, Southwest CDC, and other Registered Community Organizations in Southwest Philadelphia recognize this relationship and are urging stakeholders to consider the neighborhood’s development in this holistic manner. As members of these organizations gain seats on committees and boards relating to CHOICE and LSMP, they are positioning themselves as active participants in the policy-and-decision making of the neighborhood’s redevelopment. The support these organizations garner from residents will require the public and private stakeholders in the LSMP to proactively adopt goals that are inclusive of the neighborhood and challenge themselves to fulfill the promise of the CHOICE Neighborhood grant.


In From Transactions to Transformation: How Cities Can Maximize Opportunity Zones, Bruce Katz and Evan Weiss directly call for helping local entrepreneurs, building residents’ skillsets, supporting the production of affordable housing, and repurposing and creating institutions to carry out core missions.14 There are two reasons why the success of redevelopment projects in the neighborhood require investing in the existing population. First, a skilled workforce and thriving business community attracts further investment. Second, resident buy-in mitigates the risk and cost of such redevelopment projects.15 Planning is a prospective process. As Katz and Weiss state, children in elementary school now will be in high school and beyond when the Opportunity Zone legislation sunsets.16 Given Southwest Philadelphia’s young population, investments being made in the neighborhood today will impact future outcomes of existing individuals and families. Stakeholders should seek to help a spatially defined neighborhood while also committing to investing in the neighborhood’s soft infrastructure—the human capital, institutions, and social networks. Any effort that only invests in the physical infrastructure of a neighborhood will reproduce the disparate outcomes of top-down, white patriarchal planning that was seen via urban renewal. That is what makes planners full shit.


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ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Isobel graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s in Urban Ecology in 2016 while working for Utah Diné Bikéyah, a Native American land conservation non-profit. Now a second-year master’s candidate in the City & Regional Planning program at the University of Pennsylvania, Isobel continues to work with her passion for cultural landscapes, deepening her knowledge of land use and environmental planning. Isobel focuses on how to promote the economic and ecological health of places held dear; believing one cannot thrive without the other. Inder is interested in how planners can synchronize macro-level policy-making with microlevel community action to promote meaningful economic development, increase residents’ access to opportunities, and adapt to a changing climate. Consistent with this interest, he worked as a community organizer, neighborhood planner, and economic development professional before moving to Philadelphia. A product of the East Bay, Inder is quirky, unpredictable, and genuine. He would like to dedicate this paper to the youth, the aged, the weak, and the vulnerable, for in our lifetimes we will be all of these.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Zuk, Miriam et al. “Gentrification, Displacement, and the Role of Public Investment.” Journal of planning literature. 33.1 (2018): 31–44. Web. 2 Bischoff, Kendra. Washington Center for Equitable Growth. “Geography of Economic Inequality.” Oct. 31, 2016. https:// 3 Danley, S.; Weaver, R. “They’re Not Building It for Us”: Displacement Pressure, Unwelcomeness, and Protesting Neighborhood Investment. Societies 2018, 8, 74. 4 Harvey, D. (1985) The urbanization of capital: studies in the history and theory of capitalist urbanization. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 5 Logan, J. and H. Molotch (1987) Urban fortunes: the political economy of place. University of California Press, Berkeley 6 Gottdiener, M. (1994) The social production of space. University of Texas Press, Austin. 7 Gottdiener, M. and R. Hutchinson (2006) The new urban sociology. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

13 Hernandez, J. (2009) Redlining Revisited. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 14 Katz & Weiss. “From Transactions to Transformation: How Cities Can Maximize Opportunity Zones.” Nowak Metro Finance Lab. 2018. 15 Shell, Richard. Bargaining for Advantage. New York. Penguin books. 2006. 16 Katz & Weiss. “From Transactions to Transformation: How Cities Can Maximize Opportunity Zones.” Nowak Metro Finance Lab. 2018. Figure 1: Winter, Michael. “Several Arrested at Philly Protest over Deadly Fire.” USA Today, 7 July 2014, news/nation/2014/07/07/philadelphia-fatal-fire-protest/12321835/. Figure 2: Temple University Archives. 2019. Figures 3-5: Images by Isobel Lingenfelter & Inder Grewal, 2019. Figure 6: CBS 3 Philadelphia.

8 Hernandez, J. (2009) Redlining Revisited. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 9 Ellickson et al. Land Use Controls Cases and Materials. Walters Kluwer Law & Business. New York. 2013. 347. 10 Blair, J. 1995. Local Economic Development: Analysis and Practice; Local Economic Development, The World Bank http://web.; Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, HarperCollins Publishers 2005. 11 Supanich-Goldner et al. “Economic Development in a Global Knowledge Economy: A Guide for Local Practice.” Michigan State University Board of Trustees. 2007. 12 McKee, G.A, and Mckee, Guian A. “Liberal Ends Through Illiberal Means.” Journal of urban history. 27.5 (2001): 547–583. Web.

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Figure 1: Warsaw’s Old Town was one of several core neighborhoods of the city that were almost entirely destroyed in the repression of the Warsaw Uprising.

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ver the course of 1989 to 1991, from Szczecin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain was parted across the continent of Europe. Behind that fading line lay all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Hundreds of millions of people found themselves amidst a seismic shift in the nature of their societies as rapid economic and political transition took place. The cities of that region, many of which had transitioned directly from the devastation of the Second World War to central planning, now rejoined the global urban mainstream. Over the past 30 years these cities have had to transform their property markets, rebuild the local government level, endure deindustrialization, modernize and adjust their infrastructure, and manage the spatial development implications of capitalist economic development. Finally, they’ve had to do this while articulating a new relationship with the nations and cities of Western Europe and the world beyond. Once the very namesake of the Communist Bloc, Warsaw has emerged as a particularly compelling example of the transitional and post-Communist city. All but entirely destroyed in the later stages of the Second World War, the city was radically reconstructed in the following years. Since the end of Communist rule, the city has prospered first from its extensive national hinterland, and increasingly as a global city networked with other major European centers. At the same time, it has struggled to deal with the rapid motorization and suburbanization resulting from the free-market economy, which has congested the city’s incomplete road network while consuming increasing quantities of land. The legal and regulatory framework for local government and

planning has been in rapid and regular flux over the past 30 years, impacting the capacity of the state to engage in spatial planning and development.

GROW TH & DEVELOPMENT PAT TERNS & FORCES Poland is a relatively pluricentric country with the Warsaw Metropolitan Area, the country’s largest, accounting for just eight percent of the national population. Warsaw looms far larger in its regional context, with the metro area making up over 50 percent of the population of Mazovia Voivodeship.1 Located along the river Vistula, Warsaw was traditionally in the center of the country, but a postwar exchange of territories saw the country’s borders extended west in compensation for Soviet seizure of lands now part of Ukraine and Belarus. This process left Warsaw close to the country’s eastern borders. The City of Warsaw was formally established around 1300 and became the capital of the PolishLithuanian commonwealth in 1596. For the following three hundred years, it endured halting growth amid periods of war and partition. Twentieth century planning efforts have also been repeatedly frustrated by the outbreak of conflict. The first metropolitan plan in 1911 was soon interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War and subsequent Polish independence. The 1934 Spatial Plan of Functional Warsaw was similarly derailed by blitzkrieg.2 While some key elements of the 1934 plan survived, urban sprawl and subsequent planning efforts have significantly impacted it.

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Figure 2: With most of Warsaw’s historic neighborhoods destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising, neighborhoods like this are more likely to be meticulous post-war recreations.

The 1944 Warsaw Uprising against German occupation looms large in the city’s development. Most of the city’s buildings were destroyed in the Polish Home Army’s unsuccessful liberation effort, including over 70 percent of all housing, a figure that rises to over 80 percent on the West Bank of the Vistula, and almost 100 percent in the downtown core.3 The city’s historical monuments and districts were also largely destroyed, though some were rebuilt after the war. From 1.3 million inhabitants in 1939, Warsaw had only 160,000 people by 1945, mostly concentrated in outlying areas to the North and South of the core, as well as in relatively unscathed Eastern Bank neighborhoods.4,5 By then, the city had traded German occupation for Soviet, and the era of Communist city planning had begun. Warsaw’s Communist era can be divided into three periods: (1) reconstruction of the near tabula rasa city from 1945-1970, during which Warsaw was mostly built out within its pre-war footprint and leveraging what infrastructure remained or could be repaired; (2) the housing boom era of 1971-1978, involving extensive use of the “large slab” construction technique to build enormous housing estates; and (3) the economic crisis of the 1980s that severely impacted construction and economic growth in the city.6 This process resulted in a city that was relatively compact, non-motorized, and whose inhabitants


chiefly lived in large apartment complexes. While other historically large Polish cities, such as Krakow, were able to assimilate newly built Communist development into their existing urban fabric, the scale of rebuilding necessary in Warsaw left it with a more thoroughly transformed spatial pattern more reminiscent of the country’s smaller and younger cities.7 There are a number of key characteristics of the socialist city, including domination of the economy by the industrial sector, class and aesthetic homogeneity, control of migration, and a total absence of local government agency compared to the central government.8 Since the end of Communist rule, Warsaw has seen limited but relatively consistent population growth. The city’s population declined from 1.66 million in 1991 to 1.62 million in 1999, before increasing to 1.74 million by 2014.9 Poland’s national population has been relatively stagnant over the period, oscillating between 38 and 39 million. Although emigration has been a major feature of Polish society in the post-Communist period, the government expects net-migration to reverse in coming years, with Polish cities becoming a more attractive destination for international migrants.10 Rural-to-urban migration, particularly from lessdeveloped areas of Eastern Poland into Warsaw, has also continued to be a major factor in urban growth.11


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Figure 3: Low Density development expanded rapidly across Warsaw after the fall of the Communist regime.

The economic prosperity of the Warsaw region is significantly higher than that of Poland at large. The difference is particularly stark in terms of GDP per capita, where Warsaw’s increased from 39,546 USD (2010 Dollars, PPP) to 69,573 USD over 2000 to 2015. These results may skew the interpretation for ordinary Varsovians however, with the OECD estimating that in 2014, Disposable Income Per Capita in Mazovia Voivodeship (Warsaw-specific data not available) was 14,136 USD, compared to just 11,782 USD in the country at large.12 This may represent both a limitation in the labor share of economic growth in Warsaw, as well as the regional disparity between the city’s core and hinterland. Economic growth has not been fully equitably distributed in the region, either. Areas east of the Vistula have long been disadvantaged relative to the west, and that trend has continued into the present. The East Bank has also been slow to receive infrastructure support, with the city’s metro system being extended across the river only in 2015 (and still with very limited coverage), 20 years after the original North-South line opened in 1995. The integration of the city with its surroundings also remains stubbornly incomplete, resulting in limited geographical equity of development. Enhancing regional integration, both socio-economically as well as politically, remains a key priority of both the national and voivodeship governments.13

There are several key sources of competitive advantage among modern cities, including cities based around serving their hinterlands.14 Warsaw has three tiers of hinterland, Mazovia and Eastern Poland generally, Poland at large, and Eastern Europe as a whole. Institutions of higher education, business services and finance firms, and real estate transactions are all concentrated in Warsaw.15 Warsaw is also the key node for inter-urban connections in the country, with the bulk of commuter, business network, educational, and cultural links between cities passing through the capital.16 Warsaw’s large national hinterland has also helped boost its attractiveness within the broader Eastern European sphere, including helping the city to attract foreign investment.17 However, Warsaw’s role as a hinterlandbased city could be endangered going forward. The Polish government’s National Spatial Development Concept 2030 Plan aims to advance the prominence of regional centers and secondary cities and decongest some of the key services currently centralized in Warsaw.18 Fortunately, Warsaw is also advancing beyond hinterland dependence. It is increasingly focused on adding high value-add economic activity. Warsaw is responsible for a disproportionate share of the country’s patent registrations, R&D activity, and software development. It is the only Polish city to be classified as a potential European MEGA metropolis

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urban extent expanded 5.2 percent per year and 2.1 percent over the same period.24 This resulted in massive growth of Warsaw’s built up area, which more than doubled in size between 1992 and 2013. The impact on the spatial pattern of the city has been extensive. There were major new areas of development to the north and southwest of the core, as well as on the East Bank of the Vistula. However, much of the new development occurred at very low densities and remain largely suburban in nature. In the 2000 to 2013 period, the expansion was more modest, including infill and extension of existing development rather than generation of new clusters.

Figure 4: Map of Warsaw.

under the ESPON classification, largely due to its strong knowledge sector and innovation rate.19 It seems likely that agglomeration effects from these sectors, as well as Warsaw’s educational institutions, will likely continue to propel growth for the city going forward.

SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT PAT TERNS & SPATIAL SORTING Centrally planned cities, like Soviet Moscow, have long been the lonely exceptions to the negative exponential density gradient pattern.20 This would be expected to hold true in Warsaw, particularly given the high degree of reconstruction necessary in the aftermath of the Warsaw Uprising. This proved far from the case. From 1945 to 1970, despite major changes in architectural form, building scale, and social organization, post-war Warsaw regained the density pattern of a non-Communist city. Warsaw’s structure is defined by a monocentric star-shape, with development following key road and rail corridors.21,22 The spaces between these axes of development have been described as “ventilation wedges,” open areas intended to resolve both environmental and social problems amidst a rapidly industrializing city.23 Despite important continuities, the end of Communism triggered significant changes to the spatial character of Warsaw. Specifically, the city saw massive suburbanization and an increase in sprawl. The urbanized area of Warsaw saw its population increase by 1.8 percent annually between 1992 and 2000, and 0.6 percent between 2000 and 2013, while


Suburbanization has brought significant congestion to the area’s transportation system. Warsaw’s pre-war street network was mostly reconstructed in the early Communist period and, where capacity expansion was done, it was chiefly to facilitate public transit facilities.25 Planning for private car usage was almost non-existent in the Communist period, although by 1980 there were a quarter of a million in the area. After the end of Communism, there was a rapid increase in motorization.26 Warsaw’s transportation infrastructure was totally unprepared for this shift, which both exceeded capacity and accelerated maintenance needs. In the face of motorization, Warsaw has continually invested in public transportation. Planning for an underground rail system goes back decades, with advance work commencing in the 1950s before being indefinitely delayed by soil conditions.27 Planning for an initial underground line, connecting the downtown core to northern and southern neighborhoods along an 11 km line, accelerated again in the 1980s, but service did not begin until 1995. That line was later extended to twice its original span, and finally was joined in 2015 by a second stump West-East line that crosses the Vistula.28 Notably, although the metro draws significant attention, the city’s legacy bus and tram networks carry the vast majority of transit passengers.29

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF GROW TH & DEVELOPMENT Warsaw’s political economy is dominated by three major sets of actors: an uncoordinated web of national, voivodeship and local government; the private development interests created since 1989; and the European Union, which has emerged as an increasingly important actor in Warsaw’s development through the provision of development financing. During the Communist period, local government was basically non-operative as an actor in Warsaw’s development. Instead, municipal authorities “represented no local interests but


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Figure 5: The Warsaw Uprising Monument, finally completed in 1989, was long delayed by the Communist government, whose love of public monuments did not extend to those commemorating the Polish Home Army.

rather the central government and its policies.”30 Consequently, the re-emergence of local government as an independent actor was a key feature of the postCommunist order.31 From 1994 to 2002, Warsaw was composed of a federative group of 11 gminas. Each gmina had a separate administration, complicating governance.32 Starting in 2002, the 11 gminas were amalgamated into a single entity, although 18 new districts retain some secondary functions and capabilities.33 As the urbanized area has continued to expand, further integration of metropolitan governance has been discussed to resolve the administrative fragmentation of the wider Warsaw region. The OECD estimates that as many as 101 local governments exist within the broader Warsaw metro region.34 The post-Communist period has also been characterized by disorganized planning efforts at all levels of government in Poland. National and voivodeship planning efforts are poorly coordinated, while local planning is often entirely absent.35 Warsaw’s 2012 spatial development plan covered only 19.2 percent of the built up area.36 Voivodeship planners can neither enforce their priorities upon localities nor effectively manage conflicting planning priorities between them. As a result, local spatial management is disproportionately focused on idiosyncratic local interests to the potential detriment of other goals.37 Administrative confusion is also reflected in

non-planning authorities. Public institutions struggle to properly enforce the law or coordinate complex financing and project instruments.38 This results in a climate of impunity with regard to breaking planning rules in many areas and has contributed to the underprovision of quality public spaces and infrastructure to match private-sector housing growth in many urban areas.39 Often multiple administrative entities cover the same functional space, such as public transit. Despite the city’s very high transit mode share, there is no single coordinating body for all transit modes, limiting scope for improving efficiency and user experience.40 In the 1990s the weakness and disorganization of the State magnified the agency of Warsaw’s private property developers. Contemporary observers described the Warsaw property market as “wild” and a complete “investor’s market.”41 The consequences of this are readily visible in the rapid expansion of Warsaw’s urban extent during the period where developers exploited competition between municipalities, driving the allocation of increasing quantities of rural and undeveloped land for development.42 A major consequence of weak government influence in development was the rise of gated residential developments. Housing policies that served the interests of developers rather than households saw the number of gated residential communities in Poland increase rapidly, with over 400 communities in Warsaw alone.43 Increasing

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numbers of gated communities have contributed to the degradation of public spaces and community centers and helped magnify social distinctions.44 The final key actor in the political economy of Warsaw’s development is the European Union (EU). Since its accession in 2004, Poland has received significant investment from Brussels. This investment predominantly comes from the European Structural and Investment Funds. In the 2014 to 2020 period, expenditures in Poland are expected to total EUR 86 billion net of Poland’s own contributions to the funds. EU funds have helped develop the country’s transportation and environmental infrastructure, as well as boost labor market participation and innovation.45 In Warsaw specifically, the EU provided a substantial proportion of the funding for the Metro 2 line, amidst many other investments in the city.46

THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT The provision and quality of public space is a major issue in contemporary Warsaw. Many Communist era housing developments included surrounding courtyards, pedestrian paths, and open green spaces. In recent years, real estate developers have increasingly sought to build on these open areas.47 This process has been exacerbated by landownership disputes brought by the former owners of properties nationalized in the early Communist period, which often facilitates the ultimate transfer of rights to developers. Curator and activist Kuba Szreder describes the impact on Warsaw as “The public space shrinks, people are relocated, schools and kindergartens closed . . . Warsaw is becoming a capitalist playground.”48 The result of this process in Warsaw has been a general degradation of the quality and quantity of public spaces. Additionally, the monumental symbols of the Communist era remain controversial, particularly amongst supporters of the incumbent national government. While the tearing down of Soviet statues in the immediate transition period caught international media attention, other symbols of the Communist era were less easily removed. The most notable target of this sentiment in Warsaw is the Palace of Culture and Science, constructed between 1952 and 1955 as a “gift” from Joseph Stalin to the Polish people, and which remains the city’s tallest building. Its singular scale and prominence make it a focal point for those who seek to expunge Soviet influence from Warsaw’s architectural landscape.49 Like many landmarks of the Communist period, the Palace has been redeveloped, and now hosts retail and office space. In a similar fit of irony, the Warsaw stock exchange was first established in a former headquarters of the Polish Communist Party.50 By contrast, Warsaw’s limited number of prewar historical districts are greatly valued by the city’s residents. This is in spite of the fact that most of them


are detailed reconstructions from the immediate post-war era, rather than original developments.51 Residence in mid-rise brick buildings of this nature holds considerably higher social prestige among Varsovians than do the city’s preponderance of largescale apartment developments.52 This has helped drive recent interest in Eastern Bank neighborhoods like Praga, which were both less damaged during the war and less aggressively developed after it, resulting in a larger stock of older mid-rise housing.53 The final contributor to the physical planned environment of Warsaw is the city’s extensive supply of new developments and infrastructure. As discussed prior, major investments in road infrastructure have been made since 1989. Modern skyscrapers have increasingly been built in the downtown core, reflecting Warsaw’s aspirations to global city status.54 In 2020, one building currently under construction is expected to finally top the Palace of Culture and Sciences as Warsaw’s tallest.55 Given the existing momentum of demographic and economic growth in the region, new development is likely to continue to increase in the coming decades.

CONCLUSION: A PL ANNING AGENDA As it increasingly moves out of the postCommunist era, Warsaw must wrestle with the consequences of the last 30 years of development. It should implement an urban growth boundary and greenbelt, while protecting existing green space along the Vistula and within the “ventilation wedges.” A comprehensive plan should be developed to determine which Communist-era public spaces assets ought to be maintained, adapted, or released to developers. Warsaw can also combat motorization by completing Metro Line 2 and boosting investment in the city’s bus and tram services, while considering congestion pricing and improved parking management. Finally, the city needs to preserve its limited stock of pre-war buildings (original and reconstructed), as a community and tourist asset. Warsaw also needs to cultivate and leverage its growing advantages. Efforts should be made to deepen physical, knowledge, and economic links to other Polish cities and the rest of Europe. Additionally, Warsaw should strategically focus growth in business services and technology sectors around major nodes in the public transit system. None of these steps is feasible without improving planning capacity and the administrative framework. Planning consistency across the municipal, voivodeship, and national governments should be improved. Horizontal consistency across both functional areas and different municipalities also needs greater attention. Finally, planning bodies need to be empowered to resist habitual violation of rules by developers.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Luke Hassall is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student. Concentrating in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning, they’re particularly interested in improving infrastructure planning processes to better facilitate opportunities for economic growth and opportunity. Originally from New Zealand, Luke studied Economics and Political Science at Penn many moons ago, and has split the years since between Boston, Kentucky, and the occasional mountain jaunt through Western Colorado.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Swalinski & Sulmicki, The 3S Model of Urban Sprawl in the Warsaw Functional Area, 55.

31 Ibid., 80.

2 Ibid., 55.

33 OECD.stat - Metropolitan Areas.

3  Stepniak, The Spatial Deconcentration of Housing Resources in Warsaw, 1945-2008, 71. 4 Niemczyk, City Profile - Warsaw, 301. 5 Stepniak, The Spatial Deconcentration of Housing Resources in Warsaw, 1945-2008, 71. 6 Ibid., 69. 7 Weclawowicz, Urban Development in Poland, from the Socialist City to the Post-Socialist and Neoliberal City, 70. 8 Ibid., 71. 9 Eurostat – Living conditions – cities and greater cities. 10 Ministry of Regional Development. National Spatial Development Concept 2030, 25. 11 Weclawowicz, Urban Development in Poland, from the Socialist City to the Post-Socialist and Neoliberal City, 74. 12 Ibid. 13 Swalinski, Innovative Metropolitan Strategy a Challenge for Warsaw City Region. 14 Glaeser, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, location 813 of 8156. 15 European Regional Development Fund. Property Development and Land-Use Planning Around the Baltic Sea, 28. 16 Ministry of Regional Development. National Spatial Development Concept 2030, 70. 17 Keivani, Parsa & McGreal, Institutions and Urban Change in a Globalising World: The Case of Warsaw, 10. 18 Ministry of Regional Development. National Spatial Development Concept 2030, 37.

32 Ibid., 80. 34 Ministry of Regional Development. National Spatial Development Concept 2030, 149. 35 Ibid., 149. 36 Ibid., 148. 37 Ibid., 148. 38 Ibid., 147. 39 Malasek, Greening Warsaw’s Transport System by Sustainable Urban Planning, 273. 40 European Regional Development Fund. Property Development and Land-Use Planning Around the Baltic Sea, 77 & 86. 41 Swalinski & Sulmicki, The 3S Model of Urban Sprawl in the Warsaw Functional Area, 59. 42 Polanksa, Urban Policy and the Rise of Gated Housing in PostSocialist Poland, 412. 43 Polanska, Urban Policy and the Rise of Gated Housing in PostSocialist Poland, 416. 44 ESI Funds Country Factsheet Poland. 45 Warsaw’s Metro Line 2 Extended to Increase Public Transport Use and Reduce Pollution-Projects - Regional Policy - European Commission. 46 Ibid. 47 Ibid. 48 The Movement to Destroy Warsaw’s Tallest Building. 49 Ibid. 50 European Regional Development Fund. Property Development and Land-Use Planning Around the Baltic Sea, 78. 51  Ibid., 78.

19 Ibid., 72.

52 Changing Face of the Praga District, 2-5.

20 Landis, Density Gradients.

53 Warsaw.

21 Niemczyk, City Profile - Warsaw, 302.

54 Construction Begins on Poland’s Tallest Tower by Foster + Partners.

22 Muller, Transportation and Urban Form: Stages in the Spatial Evolution of the American Metropolis. 23 Niemczyk, City Profile - Warsaw, 302.

Figure 1:

24 Atlas of Urban Expansion - Warsaw.

Figure 2: Niemczyk, “City Profile — Warsaw (Warszawa).

25 Niemczyk, City Profile - Warsaw, 302.

Figure 3: Stepniak “The Spatial Deconcentration of Housing Resources in Warsaw, 1945-2008.

26 Ibid., 304. 27 Ibid., 302 28 Warsaw’s Metro Line 2 Extended to Increase Public Transport Use and Reduce Pollution-Projects - Regional Policy - European Commission

Figure 4: Figure 5:

29 Record High Number of Public Transport Passengers in Warsaw. Weclawowicz, Urban Development in Poland, from the Socialist City to the Post-Socialist and Neoliberal City, 71. 30 Ibid., 73-74.

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Instructors: Scott Page and Jamie Granger, Interface Studio Students: Anne Albert Jiahuan Cai Emily Goldstein Jennifer Gutierrez Rachael Hartofelis Yayu Liu Kristen Scudder Christopher Salzano Steven Wang Baiwei Zhang

In a storm surge scenario, like that of Hurricane Sandy, the towns of Warren and Barrington will collectively see 3,134 single family homes and 575 multi-family temporarily inundated with water.

9.60ft by 2100

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predictions, based on extensive data collection, have risen dramatically in the last five years to the point where estimates now indicate that global sea levels will rise by 9.6 feet by 2100.

6.60ft by 2100

6.69ft by 2080

4.39ft by 2080

3.25ft by 2050 1.90ft by 2050 0.75ft by 2030

1.67ft by 2030 2012



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Data Source: National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]

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Jamiel Park, currently located next to a nearby inlet and on the south end of Belcher’s Cove, has the potential to become a converted recreational space through intentional flooding to divert water from nearby roads and infrastructure.

Rubble Road 40’

Fragmites 25’

Existing Inlet 25’

Fragmites 8’

Furniture Stripper 75’

Allowing Jamiel Park to return to a landscape of wetness will regenerate the natural ecosystem and prevent occasional flooding of nearby areas.

Reclaimed Wetland 20’

New Canal 70’


lobal sea level rise is a direct outcome of climate change as the world’s seas have absorbed more than 90 percent of the increased atmospheric heat caused by greenhouse gases. As the planet starts to experience the more serious impacts of climate change and global warming, increases in the rise of sea levels and the intensity and frequency of coastal tropical storms pose an enormous threat to North American coastlines and coastlines around the world. The northeastern part of the United States is experiencing the most rapid increase of sea level rise in the U.S. and has thus begun looking for long-term planning solutions. Rhode Island’s relationship with water has long been a defining portion of the state’s identity. However, the towns, industries, and communities that were formed around the advantages of being close to the Narragansett Bay are now threatened by the results of climate change including sea level rise, storm surge, and coastal erosion. The state’s progressive policies on sea level rise and climate change put it at the forefront of research, data analysis, and policies that address climate change.

Reclaimed Wetland 83’

Over the course of a semester, this student project aimed to add to this body of knowledge and action by assessing the impacts of coastal risks in the towns of Warren and Barrington Rhode Island. A close partnership was fostered with the Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC), and the Coastal Resource Center (CRC) to address impending issues of climate change and sea level rise in this region. Students provided adaptation strategies that focused on issues of equity while preserving the economic vitality and rich cultural heritage of the coastal towns. As a final product, this studio produced an extensive report documenting the impact of loss incurred at each level of sea level rise in categories of community assets, economic assets, housing, infrastructure, and habitat. Understanding the challenges facing each of these communities, a toolkit for adaptation was developed that organized strategies into three categories of action: reinforce, retreat, and restore. By developing well-informed and meaningful adaptation strategies now, these coastal communities will be empowered to thrive and become leaders in adaptive excellence.

SEA LEVEL RISE RHODE ISLAND Panorama2019Book.indb 23

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Figure 1: The resource conflict challenges our view of nature as an object to be conquered, as Valerie Hegerty demonstrates in Fallen Bierstadt (2007). The Western concept of “divine entitlement� to nature falls short when we acknowledge that we consume nature at the expense of equity.

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s the planet enters a new geological age, our development priorities are becoming increasingly counterproductive. Humanity has changed the earth in irreparable ways, and yet our occupation of the planet has neither produced better outcomes for human development nor allowed the natural world to flourish. Experts agree that we must minimize our impact on nature to make way for a balanced Anthropocene, but even this is a simplistic way to approach development.1 The traditional definitional opposition between Man and Nature leads us to believe that we can solve our environmental and development problems through technology. Humanity’s view of development must shift from this binary relationship to a tertiary one that weighs more heavily on the complexity of human needs. As Scott Campbell argues in his essay Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?, sustainable development involves a triangle of conflicting goals.2 The divergent priorities of economic growth, social justice, and environmental protection are particularly relevant when examined in light of the dawning age of the Anthropocene. Humans must assume more responsibility than ever, even while grappling with our own conflicting interests. The decision-making involved in resolving these conflicts depends greatly on our view of nature, which informs our priorities. It requires us to recognize the value of nature for its own sake and not as an accessory to human history. By balancing these conflicts in a meaningful way, we can search for complementary interests that will give us more sustainable design and development solutions.

THE RESOURCE CONFLICT In December 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump declared, “We will cancel the job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy.”3 This is a typical example of the oppositional framework of economic growth versus the environment. An alternative way of thinking about this may be a question of equity in the way we value natural resources. It is important to regulate industries that exploit our natural resources not because of our spiritual connection to nature, but for the sake of future generations who will also depend on them. The resource conflict is at the forefront of challenging our ideas about nature in opposition to humanity. As Campbell explains, it is a conflict between the economic and ecological utilities of natural resources.4 Our conception of nature as an amenity to be consumed by humans is deeply ingrained in Western consciousness, thanks to the influence of Christianity. The fact that we can frame this opposition of economic versus ecological utility is a remnant of our insistence that the earth is something for us to have dominion over, or at least to be stewards of.5 All of this is wrapped up in humanity’s relationship to nature, even today. Some would claim that those who admire nature without altering it have the “truest” relationship with nature, as opposed to those who have any type of effect on it (hikers versus loggers, for example). What is problematic about this view is that it denies the fact that humanity’s very existence has always


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Figure 2: In 1860, even as the American painter Erastus Salisbury Field depicted the original Garden of Eden, he could not imagine it in a way that did not suggest the hand of man, with the mountains in neat rows and the trees pruned.

altered nature.6 Technology alters nature; it is so much a part of human existence that to shy away from it is to be willfully ignorant of its ubiquity. The idea that humanity’s presence through technology is a fundamental force on the course of nature is so new that the concept of ecology has only been in use since 1873.7 The natural environment is never static, and neither are we who are a part of it. Without a deep understanding of this concept, the tendency of environmentalists is to try to freeze in time every human process that has any clear impact on the environment, rejecting every form of technology. Even in the 7th century C.E., families began to divide land and cultivate it collectively based on the number of oxen needed to haul heavy plows. Each family would receive land based on the proportion of cattle they contributed to this process, and technology thus dictated human use of natural resources.8 This example shows us that it has been virtually impossible for humans to exist independent of technology, at least since the era of the scratch plow.


The resource conflict is very real, as the types of technology that now seem to be even the most rudimentary are based on an invasion of the natural world. From an environmentalist standpoint, the easiest solution may be to try to regulate all business interests in favor the natural environment, but this is simply not possible. However, if we think of this not in terms of Man versus Nature, but rather as an inter-species equity problem, we effectively erase this dichotomy so inherent to our Judeo-Christian values.

THE DEVELOPMENT CONFLICT Another priority we must consider in the age of the Anthropocene is the development conflict. In the developed world, we often think of sustainable development in terms of making the choice to have a more balanced relationship with the natural world at the cost of profit and efficiency. However, in many regions of the Global South and in economically depressed urban areas in the Global North, the choice


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Figure 3: In The Arcadian or Pastoral State, Thomas Cole depicts an idealized nature with signs of industry: plowing, boat-building, and smoke. This begs the viewer to believe nature is both an amenity and an escape from industrial life.

is often more extreme. Many times, the option is either economic survival or environmental quality.9 This is exemplified in the negotiations over COP21, the Paris World Climate Agreement. For the first time, the climate treaty committed developing countries to reducing their carbon emissions, although not at the same proportions of developing nations.10 Requiring developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions is putting them at a disadvantage while they are still industrializing and forcing them to compete by the same standards of developed countries. As the authors of the EcoModernist Manifesto put it, “on a global scale, efforts to protect the environment might lead to slowed economic growth in many countries, exacerbating the inequalities between rich and poor nations. In effect, the developed nations would be asking the poorer nations to forgo rapid development to save the world from the greenhouse effect and other global emergencies.”11

Campbell argues that if “[e]nvironmental protection is a luxury of the wealthy, then environmental racism lies at the heart of the development conflict. Economic segregation leads to environmental segregation: the former occurs in the transformation of natural resources into consumer products; the latter occurs as the spoils of production are returned to nature. Inequitable development takes place at all stages of the materials cycle.”12 It is easy to ignore this complex problem as long as we think of nature as benevolent. We often think of nature as inherently balanced and equitable, a myth tied to our religious fantasy of nature as an Eden that is lost in the past.13 As a worldwide population, there are clear winners and losers in the messy process of recognizing the impact we have on the environment and finding more sustainable solutions. We like to think of nature as a tame being, kind to all humans, and we imagine nature as a place of social equity. In fact, it does not protect the sick or those with limited access to food. As we depend more on technology for


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food production, those without economic access to it are left out, and many countries of the Global South have fewer resources for combating rising sea levels. The idea of returning to the harmony of nature is problematic because it is not a condition of default social justice, and even less so in the face of climate change. In the second book of The Republic, Plato reminisced about a time before urban living began, when even the wolf and the lion were a benign part of the human community. In this fictional society, there was no “ruling class to exploit the villagers, no compulsion to work for a surplus the local community was not allowed to consume, no taste for idle luxury, no jealous claim to private property, no exorbitant desire for power, no institutional war.”14 This has carried over into our contemporary utopic visions of nature, in which we trust that nature will bring us stasis as well as social equality. Because we recognize that we are beyond the point of return where now we must think more critically about our relationship to the earth, the environmental movement can be a tool for social equity. But the way this can be achieved is complicated: while this social concern is a problem of resource allocation, we can think of it in terms of generational equity or in terms of international equity. Allocating resources in a way that ensures their availability for future generations comes at the expense of global equity in the present.15 This is further complicated when nature is used a consumer commodity, available only to those who can afford it. As Richard Weller recalls the concept of arcadia, the brutal reality of the industrial revolution created a market for a new idealized nature.16 Nature became a place of respite from urban life, giving us domesticated landscapes and the national parks system to clear our minds of the environmental and social realities of industrialization.17


ambitions for economic growth and the desire to make a better life for oneself. The original utopias were also based on a monarchy system, in which a king dictated the bounds of the city and played a god-like role to demonstrate his authority over his subjects. He held both a religious symbolism and total military power. The king alone was responsible for distributing agricultural resources, managing population growth, and allocating common goods.20

CONCLUSION In recent years, sustainable development has become a buzzword in planning and design, but it has the potential to direct real action. It has, until now, had the effect of evoking the concept of eco-topia, a new type of utopia that makes minor adjustments to our ideas of nature as a benevolent other. By refocusing our utopic visions of nature to see the environment as a pillar in a tertiary relationship of priorities, the goal of sustainability can guide us into an Anthropocene that is both understanding of the earth and amicable to human and economic development. The age of the Anthropocene presents new challenges, as we recognize ever more humanity’s irreversible impact on the earth. Humanity is a major force on the planet, and we must recognize that as a part of nature, those who work in development fields have to prioritize humans in a way that negotiates with nature in different ways. By balancing the outcomes of the resource, development, and property conflicts, we incorporate our varied relationship with the natural world, as well as our uniquely human concerns. This triple balancing act does indeed bring more complexity to our work and our responsibility, but it can result in more humane outcomes. As design and development professionals, we take a position of advocacy for the environment, but we must also advocate for economic growth and social justice so that the three can sustain each other. It remains to be seen how these concerns will manifest in design.

Finally, we have the property conflict: a contest between economic growth and equity that “arises from competing claims on and uses of property, such as between management and labor, landlords and tenants, or gentrifying professionals and longtime residents.”18 This is the conflict that perhaps has the least to do with our view on nature, although it involves our view of the utopic society. In the Utopia of the Greeks, the ideal society was achieved and remained static. Plato imagined a society that would be self-sufficient, while the members of each of the three social classes would not aspire to anything other than the one they were born into, whether craftsmen, military men, or guardians.19 If we think of Utopia in this way, we are easily reminded that the concept is irrelevant in our era of global trade and communication. With greater access to the resources and lifestyles of people across the planet, society as a whole has greater advantage to pursue human



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Arias is a dual-degree student in City Planning and Landscape Architecture, which is why she can no longer remember what her hobbies are. She loves art (sometimes in the public realm).

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 “An EcoModernist Manifesto.” The Breakthrough Institute.

Figure 1: Valerie Hegerty. “Fallen Bierstadt.” 2007 https://www.

2 Campbell, Scott. “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development.” Classic Readings in Urban Planning, 2018, 308-26. doi:10.4324/9781351179522-25.

Figure 2: Erastus Salisbury Field. “The Garden of Eden.” 1860. File:Erastus_Salisbury_Field_-_The_Garden_of_Eden.jpg.

3 Davis, Julie Hirschfeld, and Michael D. Shear. “Donald Trump, in Louisiana, Says He Will End Energy Regulations.” The New York Times. December 09, 2016. us/politics/donald-trump-in-louisiana-says-he-will-end-energyregulations.html.

Figure 3: Thomas Cole. “The Arcadian or Pastoral State” (from the series The Course of Empire) 1833-1836 https://commons.wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_The_Arcadian_ or_Pastoral_State_1836.jpg.

4 Campbell, Scott. “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?” 5 Francis, P. “Loss of Biodiversity.” Encyclical Extract Sections 32-42. 6 White, L. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” Science 155, no. 3767 (1967): 1203-207. doi:10.1126/science.155.3767.1203. 1203-1207. 7 White, L. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” 8 Ibid. 9 Campbell, Scott. “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?” 10 McCarthy, Michael. “Paris Treaty a Long Way from Solving the Problem but It’s a Landmark.” The Independent. December, 2015. 11 “An EcoModernist Manifesto.” 12 Campbell, Scott. “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?” 13 Mumford, Lewis. “Utopia, the City and the Machine.” Daedalus 94, no. 2 (1965): 271-92. 14 Ibid. 15 Campbell, Scott. “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities? Urban Planning and the Contradictions of Sustainable Development.” Classic Readings in Urban Planning, 2018, 308-26. doi:10.4324/9781351179522-25. 16 Weller, Richard. “The City is Not an Egg,” in Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Design and Planning. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2016. 17 Weller, Richard. “The City is Not an Egg.” 18 Campbell, Scott. “Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?” 19 Mumford, Lewis. “Utopia, the City and the Machine.” Daedalus 94, no. 2 (1965): 271-92. 20 Ibid.


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Figure 1: California National Guard soldiers work as hand crews to contain the Carr Fire in Shasta County, CA, in early August 2018.

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alifornia’s recent fires were the deadliest and most destructive in state history. For days an ominous cloud of smoke and ash hung over much of the Golden State. California has always burned, but the fires in the last few years feel different. Their size and intensity has been overwhelming, yet each one is topped by the next in a race for “deadliest,” “biggest,” “most expensive,” or whatever other descriptor humans use to wrap their heads around the magnitude of natural disasters. For over a decade, the 2003 Cedar Fire that tore across San Diego County was the largest and most destructive fire in California history. Those distinctions were claimed by 2017’s Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties (largest) and Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma Counties (most destructive). Within a year, California was hit again by a string of massive wildfires. The July 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire became the largest in state history and the November 2018 Camp Fire became both the most destructive and deadliest, claiming over 18,000 structures and at least 85 lives.

IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CH ANGE California has always been a fire environment, “though fire is often erroneously thought of as a disruption of normal conditions, it is actually a predictably regular, if episodic, ecological process.”1 It is estimated that between 4.5 and 12 million acres burned annually in the state prior to Euro-American settlement.2 Fires are necessary for the health and propagation of many plant species. Fires “improve seedling success by reducing competition, increasing exposure to sunlight, and releasing fertilizing nutrients.”3 Species such as poppies actually flourish

on post burn sites for a few years before fading into dormancy until the next fire.4 The state’s chaparral shrublands are incredibly ignitable, and its dormant period coincides with the hot, dry fire season. Its small leaves, resinous oils, and way of accumulating dead branches makes chaparral “the most flammable vegetation type in the United States.”5 Wildland fires are a natural feature of California ecosystems and have shaped the evolution of the state’s plants and wildlife. Human activity, especially climate change, is making wildland fires larger, deadlier, and more destructive. According to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, “annually since 2000, the average annual acres burned in California has more than doubled the average of the 1960s... The increasing prevalence of very large fires (>100,000 acres) across the West, as well as large scale tree mortality events, had led many experts to posit that the U.S. has entered into an era of “mega-fires” or “mega-disturbances.”6 Climate change has contributed to prolonged drought, resulting in unprecedented tree mortality and extending the dormant period of chaparral that is typically correlated with the dry fire season. Wildland fires have always been connected to climate, but as the climate warms the fire season is not as predictable as it once was. Wildfires now essentially burn on a year-round basis. California’s forests are particularly affected by climate change. According to one study, “climate change due to human activity accounted for roughly 55 percent of the aridity in Western U.S. forests between 1979 and 2015. This led to a doubling of the


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Figure 2: A fire crew member cools the fire’s edge during a burn operation to contain the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park in July 2018.

area torched by forest fires than would have occurred in the absence of human-caused factors.”7 Fires are driven by fuel, heat, and oxygen. After years of drought, intense rainfall in 2017 spurred the growth of combustible grasses, shrubs, and trees throughout California.8 A heat wave the following summer reduced that vegetation to dry kindling. Along with the dry Santa Ana winds in the southern part of the state and the Diablo winds in the north, California presented the ideal conditions for fires to thrive.

BUILDING INTO THE FL AMES While climate change is transforming California’s forests into acres of fire fuel ripe for burning, the state’s population is growing and encroaching further on the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Researchers found that “as of 2010, more than 30 percent of California’s housing stock was in the wildland-urban interface. That’s up from 25 percent in 1990, and it’s likely grown since 2010.”9 The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (SBFFP) has also observed a land use pattern that is increasing the number of buildings in the WUI, putting them at higher risk of ignition. In its 2018 analysis of fire trends, the SBFFP said, “The most recent assessment of California’s wildland-urban interface shows


that as of 2010, there were about 3 million housing units in Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ) that are potentially at risk from wildland fires... Thirtyseven counties have at least 10,000 housing units in FHSZ.”10 Wildfires do not burn with discretion; they are a natural feature of California, but they become disastrous when humans live and build in their way. As California’s population is predicted to grow substantially throughout the next few decades, the state needs to seriously limit urban expansion in fire-prone areas. Local and state efforts, however, can be thwarted by federal policies. A challenge with curbing sprawl into the WUI is that after fires are defeated and the ashes have settled, communities usually choose to rebuild and are enabled to do so with federal aid. Since 2003, “federal spending on wildfires has averaged more than $3 billion a year,” mostly for disaster relief and low-interest loans.11 Across the country, communities continue to develop in risky areas, and “local governments have not done an adequate job of steering development away from hazardous areas or of seeing to it that appropriate hazard mitigation measures were incorporated.”12 Perhaps local governments would not rebuild in hazardous areas if the security of federal disaster aid did not make it so attractive to do so.


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Figure 3: Soldiers from the California National Guard conduct a search and debris clearing operation in the town of Paradise, following the Camp Fire. Over 18,000 structures were lost in the fire, making it the most destructive in California history.

Even if cities limit development and impose stricter building standards in the WUI and if federal disaster aid is stemmed, people may still choose to live in Fire Hazard Severity Zones. Ultimately, people’s preferences for where they want to live cannot be legislated. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the town of Paradise lives up to its name, but it was decimated in November’s Camp Fire. The Paradise community had grown dramatically “both because of commuters looking for more affordable housing and retirees moving in.”13 The movement into the WUI will continue as people move there for economic reasons and for the quality of life. As California’s major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles grow increasingly unaffordable, it is not unreasonable to assume that without growth limits at the WUI, people will continue to move further outward.

THE STATEWIDE FIRE STRATEGY California has a robust set of fire prevention and suppression strategies that was updated in 2018 via the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection’s 2018 Strategic Fire Plan for CA. This plan analyzes wildland fire trends in the state and presents a set of goals and objectives for fire prevention and

suppression activities. The 2018 Plan is implemented by CAL FIRE and is designed to be flexible as internal and external conditions evolve. The eight goals and objectives are the basis for individual fire plans for each CAL FIRE unit and contract county, each of which can tailor implementation to meet their own priorities. The vision of the 2018 Plan is “for a natural environment that is more fire resilient; buildings and infrastructure that are more fire resistant; and a society that is more aware of and responsive to the benefits and threats of wildland fire; all achieved through local, state, federal, tribal, and private partnerships.”14 The distinction between resilience and resistance is notable. The emphasis on a resilient natural environment and not an urban environment ties into the state’s interest in upscaling forest resiliency strategies and promoting “long-term carbon stability, uptake, and storage by promoting larger healthy trees.”15 Climate change is driving the drought that is drying California’s forests, reducing them to fires in waiting. The State wants to do whatever it can to maintain its forests as carbon sinks, the very carbon that drives climate change. The use of fire resistant and not fire resilient in regard to buildings and infrastructure is subtle but


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telling. None of the 2018 Plan’s goals or objectives explicitly prohibit further development of the WUI, but distinguishing that buildings and infrastructure will be resistant to fire and not resilient implies that the state envisions that cities must do what they can to protect their communities, but once a fire blazes through as it did in Paradise, they should not – and perhaps will not – recover and bounce back to business as usual. An added challenge for consistent fire management throughout California is that fires burn differently depending on the type of vegetation that feeds them. Topography, weather conditions, and fuel type all influence fire behavior, so what works to stop a blaze in a conifer forest of the Sierra Nevada may not work for the chaparral and coastal sage scrub of Ventura County. Prescribed burning is a fuel reduction technique CAL FIRE employs to remove thick underbrush in wildland areas to improve growing conditions for

made environmentalism the scapegoat for the rash of wildfires.17,18 The President’s comments about inadequate forest management are inaccurate and his suggestions for how to do it better are inappropriate for California. California has enough water to fight fires and does not need to stem the flow of water to the Pacific Ocean. In fact, the state’s firefighting methods depend largely on tools besides water. The vertical arrangement of vegetation is also key because ground, surface, ladder, and aerial fuel all burn at different rates and respond to moisture uniquely.19 Fire size, rate, and intensity are shaped by fuel type and weather conditions and produce different flame lengths. What the president misunderstood when he made the comment about diverting water to the Pacific Ocean is that firefighters do not solely rely on engines, hoses, and water to kill a blaze. Firefighters use shovels, axes, and bulldozers to cut fire lines along the fire front. Water is used initially to knock down flames until it is safe for crews to approach,

“It is time to do better, to develop smarter, and to give back to the flames some room to burn. California will once again rise from the ashes and plan for its future with fire.”

native plants and to act as a fire break. Prescribed burns are regularly conducted in California’s national forests, but this method of fire suppression has not been as successful in preventing chaparral fires. In the chaparral landscape of southern California, fuel age is less important than extreme weather and Santa Ana winds in driving wildfires. Researchers found that despite fire suppression, “essentially, the same amount of acreage has continued to burn each year – about 30 percent of the southern California chaparral landscape in every decade of the twentieth century.”16 Chaparral will always burn – it has evolved to thrive with fire – but it only became problematic when people got in the way.

HOW NOT TO MANAGE WILDFIRES In the wake of California’s 2018 fires, it appeared that everyone from journalists to environmentalists to politicians had an opinion about the quality of the state’s fire management philosophy, particularly regarding forest management. One of the most vocal critics of the state was President Trump. He claimed the state would have more water to fight fires if it did not let so much flow to the Pacific Ocean. He suggested that the state start raking its forests like Finland and his administration has repeatedly


or is dropped from air tankers or helicopters in addition to fire retardants. The water needed to fight California’s fires is accounted for in the state’s water allocation scheme. President Trump’s suggestion that California rake its forest floors like Finland was wellintentioned, but ill-informed and ultimately unhelpful. What the president was probably trying to say is that California needs to clear its forest floors of the kind of brush and debris that is excellent fire kindling. Raking, however, is simply an unreasonable undertaking for California’s behemoth forests. California has other more efficient measures for maintaining its forest floors, like prescribed burning which clears understory and smaller diameter trees. But even so, totally clear forest floors are not good for overall forest health. Raking is reserved for clean up after a fire. Even if raking was a miracle stop to forest fires, it would not be effective for fires fueled by other vegetation types like chaparral, desert, or wetlands. As it turns out, raking is not even part of Finland’s forest monitoring system. Following the August 2018 wildfires, President Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed environmentalists for preventing logging that


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Figure 4: Despite taking every precaution to protect structures in the wildland-urban interface, entire neighborhoods were leveled in Santa Rosa in the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

may have reduced fire fuel. It seems intuitive that logging would help eliminate fire fuel, but it is not the best intervention for reducing damage from forest fires. Logging does not remove decaying trees or younger, smaller trees that pose higher fire risk. Instead, “harvests of marketable timber have always focused on tree trunks – the biggest, least-flammable vegetation in a forest.”20 When timber is harvested, slash from treetops is left behind, increasing a forest’s flammability. As the result of drought and insect infestations driven by climate change, hundreds of millions of dead trees fill California’s forests like giant matchsticks waiting to be ignited by lightning, faulty power lines, or a careless camper.21 Dead trees are not valuable for logging so clearing them has not attracted commercial interest.

PRESERVING THE WILDL ANDURBAN INTERFACE California needs to be more aggressive in protecting its wildland from further development. Urban growth boundaries could help, but more immediately wildland and wildland-urban interface protection policies must be included in each city and county general plan. CAL FIRE requires that homes in the WUI “have between 30 and 100 feet of defensible space (with little or no other flammable structure or plant life) to prevent fires from quickly and easily hopping from home to home.”22 Defensible

space around structures will increase their odds of withstanding wildfires, as will building codes that require fire resistant construction. Even after taking every precaution to protect structures in the WUI, communities will still be vulnerable. The entire Fountaingrove neighborhood in Santa Rosa was leveled in the 2017 Tubbs Fire despite following all the recommended fire-mitigation tactics. Inhabiting the WUI will always put communities at risk, no matter how prepared they are, because much of California has evolved to burn. To continue to live in highly flammable areas is irresponsible. It is unreasonable for cities to pick up and relocate somewhere less fire-prone, but they can prevent development from further encroaching on the WUI. Cities can use zoning to protect the public welfare, so they could certainly use zoning to limit the type, rate, and location of development to preserve the WUI. At the same time, they could use zoning to increase and encourage infill development. With an urban growth boundary, cities could designate where growth can and cannot happen while delineating an appropriate buffer of open space. The state already has requirements for what cities must include in their general plans, so it could also add a requirement for setting a growth boundary in accordance with CAL FIRE’s Fire Hazard Severity Zones.


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Figure 5: A U.S. flag remains standing in a Paradise, CA, neighborhood days after the deadly Camp Fire decimated the town.

CONCLUSION The extent of the damage from California’s latest fires is still being calculated, but the scale of their destruction has clearly rattled the state. Observing the smoke blanketing Oakland, hundreds of miles from the ignition point of the Camp Fire, journalist Charlie Loyd wrote, “It’s a crisis without a moment of crisis. It’s what it looks like: a slightly caustic, minimally dramatic haze over everything.” There has long been a tension between northern and southern Californians, but in the wake of these fires they were united in wondering if this was the new normal. California has always burned, and generations of Californians have evolved to live with fires just like


the chaparral and poppies that define the state’s landscape. But California’s landscape and the fires that periodically scar it are not what they used to be. Climate change has turned California’s fire season into a year-round threat. California’s fires have been magnified by climate change and sprawl and decades of trial and error forest management that has resulted in inconsistencies, but the state cannot accept defeat. It is time to do better, to develop smarter, and to give back to the flames some room to burn. California will once again rise from the ashes and plan for its future with fire.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Gutierrez is a Californian who likes writing about California. She is a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Land Use and Environmental Planning. Before coming to Penn, she majored in Architecture and Community Design and minored in Urban Agriculture at the University of San Francisco. Jennifer is interested in planning for climate change resiliency by challenging the dichotomy between the built and natural environment.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Carle, David. 2008. Introduction to Fire in California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Figure 1: California National Guard. August 14, 2018. The Commons, Flickr.

2 State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. 2018. “2018 Strategic Fire Plan for California.” CAL FIRE. August 22. Accessed November 2018.

Figure 2: Pacific Southwest Region 5. July 26, 2018. The Commons, Flickr.

3 Carle. 4 Carle. 5 Carle. 6 State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Figure 3: California National Guard. November 17, 2018. The Commons, Flickr. Figure 4: The National Guard. California National Guard. October 11, 2017. The Commons, Flickr. Figure 5: California National Guard. November 17, 2018. The Commons, Flickr.

7 Irfan, Umair. 2018. California’s wildfires are hardly “natural.” November 19. Accessed November 2018. 8 Irfan, “California’s wildfires are hardly ‘natural.’” 9 Doumar, Karim. 2018. How California Cities Can Tackle Wildfire Prevention. November 16. Accessed November 2018. 10 State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. 11 Daniels, Tom. 2014. The Environmental Planning Handbook for Sustainable Communities and Regions. 2nd. Chicago: APA. 12 Burby, R.J., T. Beatley, P.R. Berke, R.E. Deyle, S.P. French, D.R. Godschalk, E.J. Kaiser, et al. 1999. “Unleashing the Power of Planning to Create Disaster-Resistant Communities.” APA Journal. 13 Knowledge@Wharton. 2018. California Wildfires: What Will It Take to Prevent the Next Disaster? November 13. Accessed November 2018. 14 State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. 15 State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. 16 Carle. 17 Irfan, Umair. 2018. Donald Trump has some thoughts on fighting wildfires. They’re nonsense. August 6. Accessed November 2018. Kelly, Caroline. 2018. “Make America Rake Again”: Confusion in Finland over Trump’s wildfire comments. November 19. Accessed November 2018. 18 Natter, Ari, and Eric Roston. 2018. Trump Stokes Backlash by Blaming Environmentalists for Fires. August 8. Accessed November 2018. 19 Carle. 20 Carle. 21 Irfan, Umair. 2018. Ryan Zinke’s claim that “environmental terrorists” are to blame for wildfires, explained. August 17. Accessed November 2018. 22 Doumar.


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Figure 1: Campus communal space.

Figure 2: Garden school.

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onterrey, Colombia, is a town deeply rooted in agricultural practices. Network of Remembrance & Exchange proposes ways to celebrate these practices while building capacity for upward mobility and economic stability for residents. The project is comprised of an overall framework for farmers to be empowered through shared knowledge, two urban development nodes with programming to support the farmer and the rest of the community, and a new arterial road that links the town to the greater municipality. This proposal introduces cultural institutions that honor a shared history and provide services, vocational training, and cultural empowerment. The canopy system is consolidated to prevent erosion on the western side of the town, and to direct urban growth towards the plains that lie east of Monterrey. A regional connector road opens clear access to the southern end of the town and makes way for new development. Each node – Collective, Campus, and Gateway – represents a phase of the food production chain, and orients the built environment towards the surrounding productive landscape.

The Gateway serves as the entry point to the town, where residents and visitors find a commercial corridor that links the rural canopy system and a series of recreational and cultural facilities to the existing urban fabric. The re-alignment of an existing road defines the urban edge and creates access points from the town to its scenic surroundings. A series of pedestrian promenades and nature trails connects the town to the Túa River. The Campus plan introduces a new layout for an existing educational institution, where students learn vocational skills related to food processing and distribution. Classrooms and administration buildings frame the open space and face adjacent production facilities. The campus public space incorporates scenic views and pathways that lead to the larger park system while creating a visual connection to the economic production made possible by cassava and soybean cultivation.

The introduction of cassava and soybean intercropping among local farmer collectives will increase economic output and create a more stable distribution chain. The Collective is located near the urban center, and acts as a hub of services and knowledge sharing for farmers to share technical expertise. NETWORK OF REMEMBRANCE Panorama2019Book.indb 39

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Figure 3: Gateway site plan.

Figure 4: Campus site plan.

Figure 5: Proposed overall plan.



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Jessica and Danielle met in the Fall of 2018 and quickly realized this was a working relationship made in design heaven. They are the founders of a multi-disciplinary firm that values economic development as an integral part of social capital and inclusive design. Look for our work in the future on the East Coast and beyond.





World Production Volume: 277.1 M tons/year Export Value: $1.9 B In Colombia, the export price of cassava continues to increase: 64% from 2017 to 2018

World Production Volume: 334.9 M tons/year Export Value: $51.6 B Soybean imports to Colombia increased 60% between 2012 - 2015

October: 205 mm

average precipitation July: 80 mm average precipitation

April: 160 mm average precipitation

January: 80 mm average precipitation

July/August: Soy harvest

September/October: Soy planting

November: Cassava harvest

Februrary : Cassava planting

February/March: Soy harvest

Late March: Soy planting







200 cm 120 cm 40 cm February/ March

Manihot esculenta

July/ August

October/ November

Glycene max







NETWORK OF REMEMBRANCE Panorama2019Book.indb 41

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Figure 1: Rendering of the Schuylkill River with installed vegetation basins.

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ombined Sewer Overflows (CSO) occur when rain overwhelms combined sewer systems, leading to untreated sewage entering rivers. This can make water unsafe for human contact and harms aquatic organism health. The Schuylkill River in Philadelphia has been impacted by CSO problems and is currently under a consent decree by the EPA to improve water quality.1 Despite the Green City, Clean Waters program that began in 2011 to build green stormwater infrastructure in Philadelphia, the segment of the Schuylkill River that runs through Center City has not seen any reduction in overflow volume, frequency, or duration.2 The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) provides information on the current quality of the river through its RiverCast.3 Our team decided to tackle the issue by treating the outflows in the river through smart floating wetlands. The initial focus area for the project is the riverbank next to the Schuylkill River Park and Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk.

THE SOLUTION: WH AT DOES SEWKILL DO & WHY DOES IT WORK? Sew-kill has 4 objectives: 1. Monitor water quality in the Schuylkill river 2. Treat the water to improve the quality 3. Educate Philadelphians about the river’s water quality 4. Beautify the river edge

Monitoring system: PWD has a single continuous monitoring station just upstream of the Fairmount Dam. This data is useful for establishing baselines, but we included water quality sensors at the installation because the PWD station is upstream of most of the CSO outflow points. We decided to use a combination of three sensors – turbidity sensor, pH sensor, and conductivity sensor – as our monitoring system. Floating wetlands have precedents as a response to CSO: A review of applications of floating wetlands by the Auckland Regional Council found that a floating wetland system combined with a sedimentation was effective at reducing suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand, and total phosphorus, but did not affect total nitrogen because the vegetation mat created anaerobic conditions in the water underneath it.4 To fix this, Sew-kill uses three components to treat the water: a floating mat of wetland plants, activated carbon filters, and aeration.

THE PROTOT YPE MODEL: IMPLEMENT IN THE REAL WORLD The prototype is contains two parts: (1) vegetation basin and (2) controller basin containing the sensor box and solar panels. If any two of the three sensors read values that exceed the threshold values for bad water quality, the LED color will change to red and the aeration system will switch on. When the readings fall below the threshold values, the aeration system will switch off and the LED color will turn blue. In the real world, the prototype will be arranged

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Figure 2: Rendering of the Schuylkill River with installed vegetation basins.

as modular units. Each unit will have the power source/controller basin in the center and multiple vegetation basins will surround the controller basin. The basic structure of the vegetation basin and the controller basin is quite similar. Both basins will be circular in shape and will hold active carbon between two mesh layers. However, the top of the vegetation basin will contain a vegetation mat while the top of the controller basin will contain the solar panels and the sensor box. Furthermore, the aeration system will be attached to the bottom panel of the controller basin. Another structure that is common to both the vegetation and the controller basin is the static filtration door located at the center of each basin. The filtration door adds resistance to the CSO water flow which in turn helps slow down the flow speed. This ensures that the amount of time the water flows through the filtration materials in the basins is prolonged.

Figure 4: Exploded diagram of the vegetation basin and the solar and controller basin.

Figure 3: The prototype contains two parts: (1) vegetation basin and (2) controller basin containing the sensor box and solar panels.

Figure 5: Plan view of the basin layout at an outflow point.



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS John Michael LaSalle is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Smart Cities. He is fascinated by how cities cope with shocks from technology and climate change. He has a background in architecture and international development and has previously designed healthcare facilities in North Africa and the U.S., as well as led the development of products and services for the for AEC industry at a drone startup in Washington D.C. In his hypothetical spare time he likes to cook and get lost exploring new neighborhoods. Shuchang Dong is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Smart Cities. In her free time, she likes to take photographs, travel, and listen to classical music. She completed her Bachelor of Architecture in 2018 at Zhejiang University in China. Sagari Datta is a graduate student enrolled in the Urban Spatial Analytics program at Penn. She is interested in exploring the role of technology and innovation in creating sustainable solutions to address pressing urban policy challenges. She enjoys working on tech DIY projects and traveling.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Environmental Protection Agency, Administrative Order for Compliance on Consent, No. CWA-03-2012-0264 (Environmental Protection Agency Region III 2012). 2 Philadelphia Water Department, “Combined Sewer Management Program Annual Report,” 2017. 3  Philadelphia Water Department, “Philly RiverCast,” Government, Philly RiverCast, n.d., 4 T.R Headley and C.C Tanner, “Application of Floating Wetlands for Enhanced Stormwater Treatment: A Review” (Auckland Regional Council, 2006), Review-Final.pdf.

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Figure 1: Inconsistent provisions of ADA compliant stations restricts the ability of mobility impaired users to use many subterranean transit alternatives.

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he Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 by Congress and was the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law that addressed “the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations and telecommunications.”1 The ADA states that it is the obligation of public accommodations to provide auxiliary services for people with disabilities in accordance with Title III of the law, and it is the responsibility of the Attorney General’s Office to regularly publish implementation regulations and see that federal codes and restrictions regarding ADA compliance are strictly enforced.2,3 As many Americans suffer from physical disabilities that challenge the methods and modes in which they utilize a space or travel, many of the standards set by the ADA are associated with “accessible design.” Members of the planning community have a duty and legal obligation to those who fall under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act to properly represent and accommodate their needs not only to the letter of the law, but to the best of their abilities. Providing accessibility, at its core, is a planning issue. Decades after the passing of the ADA, public transportation systems still struggle to properly provide services for those in the community who suffer from either physical or cognitive disabilities. While paratransit has both improved in frequency and reliability over time, there is still a high rate of variability in service that leaves those who use paratransit regularly without consistent travel options. For a population that is highly vulnerable

and often requires regularly scheduled medical attention, consistency is critical.4 According to the 2010 Census, 19 percent of the population is reported to have a disability.5 Though the term “disability” has a broad definition, and all may not require services such as paratransit, it is a staggering statistic. With the possibility of one in every five Americans potentially requiring paratransit services, it seems pertinent to understand the challenges facing those who require ADA accommodations, and how to aid them as much in their daily activities as possible. Some of the primary issues facing paratransit providers include routing and scheduling difficulties, variation in physical needs and demands of clientele, and the absence of vehicle priority lanes and flex-route systems. The primary question to be addressed here is: what key elements of paratransit make system adaptation difficult, and what are some of the solutions that mitigate these factors? Some of the major issues in the provision of paratransit in major American cities are similar to the issues of providing fixed-route systems (such as bus or light rail), in that the monetary costs of such services are high. “State agencies that are responsible for ADA-eligible paratransit services are increasingly under pressure to contain costs and maximize service quality,” goals that are often found to be in opposition.6 Providing paratransit often means encountering dynamic and complex service related issues. Unlike providing transit through a fixed-route system with permanent/regular stops with consistent schedules, paratransit routes and clientele change

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Figure 2: Paratransit vehicles are susceptible not only to heavy delays due to vehicle congestion, but are also vulnerable to severe weather conditions.

daily. The unpredictability of a route, time-frame, and the assistance required by the client makes providing paratransit services irregular and hard to predict. Many studies have been conducted with the aim of alleviating some of the unknown dayto-day variables to increase efficiency and decrease cost. Some of the most compelling solutions include scheduled paratransport systems, the implementation of (para)bus priority at intersections in high-density areas, and the concept of dynamic stations.7,8 Employing a flex-route operating policy would be more cost-effective than a pure demand responsive transit service, while providing a more reliable and convenient service like that of a regular bus route or service.9 Understanding the implications of each of these adjustments and integrated systems could lead to wide-spread implementation and notable change for the nearly 20 percent of Americans that may depend on paratransit service.

PRIMARY CH ALLENGES IN THE PROVISION OF PARATRANSIT One of the primary issues facing the disabled population in the United States is mobility, the ability to traverse a space with ease, convenience, and comfort. Many who are disabled (or have mobility issues such as the elderly) rely heavily on paratransit to help them access necessary medical services or maintain regular appointments, critically linking


paratransit to an issue of public health.10 Providing paratransit on a large-scale, to many different types of clientele, each with specific and particular needs, creates a unique and complex problem when trying to provide consistent transportation.11 As there are many in the disabled community that have a wide range of needs, there is a great deal of variability from person to person. For instance, the needs of a quadriplegic are much different than those of a paraplegic, and thus the services that need to be provided to accommodate each individual are enormously different. Drivers of paratransit vehicles not only undergo the prerequisite hours mandated by the basic drivers’ certification, but must also complete training that is fully compliant with Federal Transit Administration and ADA requirements.12 The difference in client needs impacts the overall time efficiency of travel the most. Some individuals with disabilities can board or disembark from the vehicle on their own. However, there are many who have difficulty with mobility, requiring assistance both entering and exiting the vehicle. These additional steps are more time consuming and are overall costlier.13 Another dominating issue facing paratransit is that of navigating densely populated areas. Traffic congestion can dramatically affect the efficiency of a chosen route. Unlike established fixed-route systems, the route of a paratransit vehicle has the potential


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Figure 3: The limited space and operations of paratransit vehicles fail to meet both the demands and needs of primary users.

to change day-to-day, depending on the riders that request the service and their desired origin and destination. Increased vehicle miles traveled in order to avoid excessive traffic congestion can lead to delays in the pick-up and drop-off of all clients scheduled for service in a given day. Time and efficiency are major factors that often hamper the effectiveness of paratransit. If paratransit is to be improved for the sake of the rider, a direct benefit would be to provide clients with more free time, and less time spent waiting for paratransit to pick them up or to drop them off. If paratransit is to be improved for the sake of decreasing operating costs, again, it is largely an issue of time. The more time a transit driver spends delivering one client to their destination, the larger the increase in overall costs in gas and labor. It also has the potential of not allowing for an additional client to be picked up if the scheduling threshold is met due to inefficiencies.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS There are many small ways in which the system can be improved. Some of the more compelling solutions, or improvements, that are currently proposed and minimally implemented have the potential to show, or have already shown, a modicum of success. One compelling solution is treating paratransit vehicles with the same priority that bus routes are given in high density intersections.

By allowing these vehicles to enjoy priority status, or to be “green-lighted� through an intersection, their subjectivity to vehicle traffic and congestion is reduced. This can be implemented in several different ways from a planning perspective. A design approach might lead to a dedicated lane, where only bus operators or paratransit vehicle drivers can drive. From a technological standpoint, these vehicles can be synced with the traffic signals, ensuring that there is as little wait time for red lights as possible. By reducing the amount of time paratransit clients are sitting in traffic, it increases the efficiency and reliability of the system, as the time schedule would be less effected. Overall, this seems like a good solution, especially if implemented in areas where public transit vehicles are already given priority at high density intersections. Another solution is flex-route systems, which are starting to gain in popularity in the United States, as curb-to-curb service is seen as inefficient and costly. Curb-to-curb service, while necessary for some paratransit users, may not be necessary for the majority of people using paratransit services. Flexroute systems enjoy more freedom than fixed-route systems and provide more stability than curb-to-curb services. Flexible routes have the potential to deviate from the daily route to accommodate the needs of specific individuals that may have greater needs than others utilizing the service. That being said, there is

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a greater consistency in the service provided, as there are fixed stops and fixed times that the schedule adheres to each day. In combination with dynamic stations, this solution provides a higher level of service to a greater number of people. Dynamic stations are temporary stops that change each day depending on the specific requests the paratransit service receives. If a specific service is requested and accepted in the daily schedule, while another is denied, the stop that was accepted serves as a temporary station and a nearby alternative stop for those who were not able to be accommodated that day. While perhaps not a feasible solution for all, it is a flexible alternative that may work for many without egregiously extending the costs of the service or the implied costs on other clients.

paratransit users have steadily increased since the late 1990s and will continue to do so whether it is planned for or not.14 The provision of paratransit is a critical planning issue that must be addressed, especially considering the expected increase in demand for paratransit services as the American population ages. Nearly 20 percent of the population lives with a disability. This staggering statistic must be considered as municipalities and local governments put exceeding pressure on paratransit providers and systems to reduce their operating costs. This is a critical societal need that is required by law and above all bound to us through civic duty and responsibility.

Altogether, if any or all of these adjustments were to be made to existing paratransit services, it would seem likely that all components involved would enjoy a higher degree of service and cost savings. As the provision of paratransit is one of complexity, these solutions are by no means definite for every paratransit system. The implementation of these solutions could be applied to most systems and most clientele and have a positive outcome. The research behind each proposal is extensive, leaving room for customization and varying degrees of adaptation. Given that a large percentage of the population is reported to be living with a disability, it would behoove planners to accommodate their needs. One way of doing so is by improving upon existing paratransit services.

WHERE DO PL ANNERS GO FROM HERE? The key issues that paratransit providers face today include high operating costs, inefficient provisions of services, and high variation in needs that must be met or accommodated. Inversely, some of the major issues or concerns paratransit riders face include unpredictable service or timing and inefficient travel duration. Due to the overwhelming amount of variability that the system must accommodate each day with different riders, and different origin and destination pairs, paratransit is difficult to adapt and make more efficient. There are a few solutions, however, such as priority status at high density intersections and flex-route systems that employ dynamic stations. The implementation of these adaptations has the potential to make the system both more efficient and cost-effective for all parties involved. A key future challenge facing paratransit providers that was not covered in this analysis is the aging of the baby boomer population. With a large proportion of the population about to reach their late 60s, planners must anticipate their growing needs, especially in regard to travel and a likely increase in demand for paratransit services. The number of



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Emily Goldstein is a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. She received a B.A. in Architecture and Environmental Studies from Connecticut College in 2014. Originally from Massachusetts, Emily is interested in planning for climate change resilience in vulnerable coastal areas. Prior to her time at Penn, Emily spent time working as a project manager in Boston and completed a year of service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 1 Jan. 2017, www. 2 “Search” 2010 ADA Regulations, 1 Jan. 2017, www.ada. gov/2010_regs.htm. 3 United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Regulations; Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities. September 15, 2010. regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_regulations.pdf. 4 Deka, D. Gonzales, E.J., 2014. The generators of paratransit trips by persons with disabilities. Transportation Research Part A. 70 (2014) 181-193. 00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1513825185_390ba8f05aef4e60673a6e7220a4b749. 5 US Census Bureau Public Information Office. “Newsroom Archive.” Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S., Census Bureau Reports - Miscellaneous - Newsroom - U.S. Census Bureau, 19 May 2016, 6 Gupta, D., Chen, H.W., Miller, L.A., Surya, F., 2010. Improving the efficiency of demand-responsive paratransit services. Transport. Res. A: Policy Pract. 44 (4), 201–217.
 https://ac.els-cdn. com/S0968090X14002496/1-s2.0-S0968090X14002496-main.pdf?_ tid=f6e2b1d8-e4dc-11e7-b2fe 00000aab0f6c&acdnat=1513702514_ b0c6e534273cb9e0354cd90b26003dda.

11 Deka, D. Gonzales, E.J., 2014. The generators of paratransit trips by persons with disabilities. Transportation Research Part A. 70 (2014) 181-193. aab0f6b&acdnat=1513825185_390ba8f05aef4e60673a6e7220a4b749. 12 “Driver Training. Training, 1 Jan.2017, training.html. 13 Nguyen-Hoang, P., Yeung, R. 2010. What is paratransit worth? Transport. Res. A: Policy Pract. 44 2010), 841–853. https://ac.els-cdn. com/S0965856410001278/1-s2.0-S0965856410001278-main.pdf?_ tid=1ba51f74-e4ec-11e7-97eb-00000aab0f01&acdnat=1513709027_ e470cea9a3097d9ae91a66786416b65a. 14 Bearse, P., Gurmu, S., Rapaport, C. Stern, S. 2004. Paratransit Demand of Disabled People. Transportation Research Part B 38 (2004) 809-831. 00000aab0f26&acdnat=1513825697_95b17b7c13e16c24993d0513faac200cb0c6e534273cb9e0354cd90b26003dda. Figure 1: Steve Darby via Flickr. Figure 2: Jack Szwergold via Flickr. Figure 3: Basview via Flickr.

7 G. Dikas, I. Minis. Scheduled paratransit transport systems. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Volume 67, 2014, pp. 18-34 8 Deka, D., 2014b. An exploration of the environmental and rider characteristics associated with disability paratransit trip delay. Journal of Transport Geography 38, 75–87. 9 Gupta, D., Chen, H.W., Miller, L.A., Surya, F., 2010. Improving the efficiency of demand-Responsive paratransit services. Transport. Res. A: Policy Pract. 44 (4), 201–217.
 https://ac.els-cdn. com/S0968090X14002496/1-s2.0-S0968090X14002496-main.pdf?_ tid=f6e2b1d8-e4dc-11e7-b2fe 00000aab0f6c&acdnat=1513702514_ b0c6e534273cb9e0354cd90b26003dda. 10 Nguyen-Hoang, P., Yeung, R. 2010. What is paratransit worth? Transport. Res. A: Policy Pract. 44 2010), 841–853. https://ac.els-cdn. com/S0965856410001278/1-s2.0-S0965856410001278-main.pdf?_ tid=1ba51f74-e4ec-11e7-97eb 00000aab0f01&acdnat=1513709027_ e470cea9a3097d9ae91a66786416b65a.

EQUAL ACCESS Panorama2019Book.indb 51

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Figure 1: Heroin use has become so prevalent in Philadelphia and much of it is concentrated in the neighborhood of Kensington.

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n recent memory, it is difficult to recall a time when the nation’s opioid crisis has not been in the news. It is a problem plaguing residents of many cities, but Philadelphia has been dealing with overdoses and deaths from opioids at an alarming rate. The neighborhood of Kensington in the River Wards District of Philadelphia is the epicenter of the city’s opioid crisis, prompting the City to take action. Initial clean-up of the largest open-air drug market on the East Coast pushed drug users into the community since they had no central place to go. Community members have encountered this problem for decades and need solutions. The City has proposed safe injection sites (also known as Safe Injection Facilities, or SIFs), which allow people to use drugs in a safe place and facilitate access to medical care and rehabilitation. These will be known as Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (or CUES) and are receiving a great deal of pushback from councilmembers and community members within areas most impacted, as well as how they would operate within federal law enforcement. Advocates state that these sites are highly successful at preventing deaths and providing resources for drug users that want to go into recovery but have nowhere else to turn. As expected, this is highly contentious, and if Philadelphia moves forward with their plan, they will need to begin critical public engagement to reach consensus amongst all invested stakeholders in this issue.

STATE OF EMERGENCY On October 3, 2018, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order declaring Kensington a disaster in the face of the opioid crisis.

In the last year, the neighborhood has experienced 500 overdose deaths and the rate of homelessness has more than doubled. In 2017, the city had nearly 1,200 drug overdose deaths, far outpacing other large cities. Nearly 80 percent of overdoses in Philadelphia involve opioids, including those of the prescription variety, heroin, and fentanyl. “Drugs are bought, sold, and injected openly. Addiction has increased the number of individuals participating in the sex trade. Streets, school yards, and public parks are littered with trash, human waste, and used syringes. Children and commuters dodge illegal activity on their way to school and work.”1 By way of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, Mayor Kenney ordered the creation of the Opioid Emergency Response Group, calling it the Philadelphia Resilience Project.2 Their charge is to approach this crisis through public health, law enforcement, and comprehensive care. One of the City’s first actions to address the opioid crisis was with the Kensington neighborhood open-air drug market known as ‘El Campamento,’ located along a half-mile stretch of freight track owned by the rail company Conrail.3 In July of 2017, it was noted that “the heroin sold [there] is among the purest, cheapest, and most lethal in the U.S. It courses through the veins of the place, turning public parks, churches, abandoned houses and street corners into venues to shoot up.”4 Kensington, once a vibrant industrial area, declined as manufacturing and jobs left and home prices fell. Homes, abandoned and boarded up, have been filled with drug dealers and


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Figure 2: Needles litter the ground at the open air drug market known as ‘El Campamento.’

users. With 500,000 used syringes and people openly injecting heroin, Mayor Kenney said that “the quality of life for nearby residents has been significantly diminished,” and the announcement for clean-up of the drug market “is long overdue.”5 After national media attention and seven months of negotiations, Conrail and the City reached an agreement with the help of U.S. Representative Robert Brady (D-PA) for a massive cleanup of private rail line land. As of April 14, 2018, with grant assistance from Conrail, the community group HACE began a greenway project to beautify and maintain sections of the area near the tracks to give neighbors a way to “reclaim outdoor space where, for a long time, they were too afraid to go.”6

have capacity for any user that “sees the end of ‘El Campamento’ as the first step towards rehabilitation.” But beyond shelter, users will need food security, emotional and medical support, and ways to build healthy relationships for ultimate rehabilitation. This would be an extraordinary endeavor that takes time and money from all parts of the community and city government. As an interim step, the City has started exploring the option of safe injection sites as a strategy to deal with the influx of users who are no longer able to frequent ‘El Campamento’ and are not able to fully enter recovery.8


The City of Philadelphia announced in January of 2018 that they would “actively encourage” CUES, often referred to as safe injection sites. While similar to safe injection sites, CUES are an attempt to go beyond offering a location where a drug user can inject heroin under the supervision of a medical professional to avoid a fatal overdose. They engage and encourage users into treatment and facilitate that transition.9 Furthermore, the City contends that they will not directly operate the CUES but will instead play the role of facilitator and connector with providers of additional services. Advocates for CUES, like Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, suggest that they will save lives, with access to clean

While cleaning up ‘El Campamento’ and turning it into a greenway for the community is a step in the right direction, it seems half-baked. Where do the drug users go now? The “biggest factor in cleaning up the site will be relocating the scores of people addicted to heroin who call the gorge home—and hundreds more who go there to shoot up every day.”7 The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services is exploring ways to provide services to heroin users and put them on the path to recovery. David T. Jones, the head of the Department, says that Philadelphia shelters




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Figure 3: Workers cleaning up garbage from ‘El Campamento’ at Lehigh and Kensington Avenues.

needles and professionals standing by with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan, and by providing access to detox and drug treatment services, people can get back on their feet. Many community members and even federal law enforcement officials are skeptical of CUES. Vermont’s U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan argued that “government-sanctioned sites would encourage and normalize heroin uses, thereby increasing demand for opiates,” and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Philadelphia Field Division issued a statement in concurrence.10 Also, it is difficult to know whether these sites would be immune from federal prosecution. Councilwoman Quiñones Sánchez, who does not support a supervised site for injections in her district (which includes Kensington), welcomes “a process for engagement with stakeholders to consider how an injection site will work within a reformed continuum of care for folks dealing with their disease.”11 Yet, residents of Kensington are full of outrage, confusion, and mistrust. Why should they trust the government with their lived history of addiction decimating neighborhoods? The common question is, why would a site need to be in a community that has had to deal with this epidemic for so long, when there are plenty of locations in the suburbs to house such a facility? Further complicating the issue here is the

provision that these sites “will provide a safe harbor for drug users, but drug dealers who serve them will suffer the consequences of a legal grey zone.” Some fear that this “unintended side effect will play out along racial lines since many white addicts travel to low-income black communities to purchase drugs from dealers of color.”12

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS IN THE U.S. Worldwide, 40 cities have introduced CUES, but laws and law enforcement in the United States have made implementation difficult, limiting the impact of harm reduction programs nationwide. If CUES cannot reasonably claim legality, they will be vulnerable to police interference and have difficulty obtaining funding. This not only puts these operations at risk of being shut down but also places their clients at risk for arrest for drug possession. The staff are also at risk for arrest or discipline by their professional licensing authorities. Philadelphia must find a way to provide official authorization and public funding so they can be properly evaluated, operate effectively, and scale with need. The biggest hurdle is how the federal government will decide to approach a facility that could be seen as a challenge to national drug laws. Any authorization at the local or state level can become a trigger for a complicated conflict between the state health powers and federal leadership.13


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To get a sense of what local and state governments are up against when it comes to potential federal challenges, we must first understand what the national drug laws are and what they are intended to do. There are no laws that specifically authorize or restrict the institution of CUES. However, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) provides a framework within which to govern the manufacture, distribution, and use of prescription and illicit drugs.14 Under the CSA, two sections of the law could specifically be used to bar CUES from operating. First, Section 844 prohibits drug possession at its simplest form.15 If this section were to be enforced, every person showing up to a CUES clinic could be in violation. While it would be unlikely for a law enforcement official to pinpoint people in this highly directive way, it is a tool that officers could use if they wanted to target a facility already in operation.

General John Ashcroft in federal district court and the case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that the commerce clause gave Congress authority to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana, despite contrary state law. However, three Supreme Court justices with dissenting opinions postured that Congress had gone too far in trying to regulate something that is only loosely related to commerce. They argued that the role of the states is to define their own criminal law and protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens.19 Two of those dissenting Supreme Court justices have since retired and were replaced with more conservative justices. The change in the makeup of the Supreme Court will certainly play a role in the final outcome of how the federal government might respond to these facilities and might make state and local governments’ battles even more difficult.

“The enforcement of morality and what has been previously deemed illegal based on antiquated circumstances appear to take precedence over the health, safety, and welfare of a significant portion of our country.”

Second, Section 856 of the CSA is known as the “Crack House Statute,” which was written in response to the proliferation of drug-use houses during the crack epidemic of the 1970s. Amendments were later used as a response to “rave” parties where sponsors were making money off of clients using ecstasy.16 This section prohibits a facility from knowingly permitting the use of controlled substances.17 Clearly, any CUES would be in direct violation of this section of the law. Raids and even arrests would certainly not be out of the question if the Attorney General or the President chose to target individual facilities. However, arguments have been made that the law should not be read in this way and that the CSA was never intended to interfere with public health interventions that are legally authorized by a local or state government. A federal judge may not be swayed by that argument, but there is precedence for the Supreme Court taking issue with the federal government overstepping their authority.18 Congress has the power over controlled substances because of constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. In the case of Gonzalez v. Raich (2005) the DEA seized doctor-prescribed marijuana from a patient’s home after the State of California had passed the Compassionate Use Act legalizing marijuana for medical use. A group of medical marijuana patients sued the DEA and U.S. Attorney


MAKING THE CASE FOR CUES: NATIONAL, STATE, & LOCAL OPTIONS There are several ways in which CUES might achieve authorization. This work can be implemented mostly by governments but will require broad support from non-profit and for-profit entities to provide funding and scientific knowledge. Engagement at every level of society, spanning from the greater national message down to community implementation will need to occur concurrently. This will take a massive coordinated effort and a great deal of time and resources. To parse out what needs to happen legally, the following examines each level of government and the options that lie ahead.

FEDERAL AUTHORIZ ATION: WOULD WASHINGTON TAKE A STAND? Ideally, Congress would pass an overarching law that would authorize the institution of CUES or SIFs to address the nationwide opioid crisis. The likelihood of this happening, given the lack of bipartisanship in congress, is very slim. Instead, an option could be that the Attorney General could “promulgate a regulation under the CSA, which would be open to legal challenge but would be interpreted deferentially


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Figure 4: Now that drug users have been cleared from ‘El Campamento,’ where will they go?

by the courts.”20 The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services along with the Attorney General could also approve a pilot CUES program under the CSA provision that allows for authorizing research.21 The Attorney General could even exercise his or her “prosecutorial discretion” to instruct federal law enforcement personnel to ignore CUES. In 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno did just that in the case of an Oregon physician-assisted suicide law.22 While there is precedent for this power play by the Attorney General, it is entirely dependent on the leadership at the time. The options noted above could happen in a more progressive political climate with leadership willing to push the bounds of the Controlled Substances Act, but the likelihood of these actions today is minimal. Additionally, Congress has the option to use its “power of the purse.” It can put limitations on spending and pull federal funding from cities that try to operate CUES. An attempt by a legislator to do just that was made recently in San Francisco, albeit unsuccessfully.23 The federal government is likely to stand in the way of any CUES facility, but with the opioid crisis reaching catastrophic levels, local governments also have the power to act.

THE POWER OF PUBLIC HEALTH: SYRINGE EXCH ANGE PROGRAMS Enforcement of the CSA and how officials would react is almost entirely dependent on the political climate locally and in Washington, D.C. With that in mind, there are several options for a locally-based CUES operation. The first option is for a non-profit or local government entity to launch a CUES facility as an extension of an existing syringe exchange program already authorized by state law. Syringe exchange programs, like the ones in Philadelphia, have found a way to establish legal basis through state drug law by way of public health. Municipalities in the United States have their own authority under state health codes, local government law, or home rule charters to respond to health emergencies and can take the position that “drug laws were not intended to apply to bona fide disease control measures and so do not prohibit syringe exchange programs established pursuant to emergency health powers.”24 If a CUES facility were to latch onto an existing syringe exchange program, they could avoid state legislation directly challenging federal drug policies.25 In this sense, law enforcement officials would be expected to turn a blind eye to possession. It should be noted that this would require a level of self-restraint that is not easily achieved or should be expected of most police officers. Unfortunately, this option would truly be a soft approach and would likely have many limitations.


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Figure 5: View of the Cactus safe-injection site in Montreal where addicts can access clean needles, medical supervision, and freedom from arrest.

LOCAL VS. STATE AUTHORIZ ATION Implementing a soft response that is unlikely to withstand turbulent politics or holding out for a federal mandate to allow for CUES nationwide are not ideal options. Instead, it comes down to state or local authorization to make CUES happen. The most optimal situation is to have explicit authorization by state legislature. States possess the power to sanction these operations as they have the inherent duty to protect and preserve the welfare of their citizens through police power. This option is ideal for several reasons: “(1) it eliminates the uncertainty about legality in reference to other state laws; (2) it legitimizes the CUES operation in the eyes of subordinate governmental agencies; (3) the chance of local police or prosecutor would take formal action decreases; (4) the CUES operators and clients would have protection against informal police pressure or interference; (5) the legislative process is functioning appropriately, giving the community opportunity to engage and address their concerns; and (6) state legislation gives CUES the strongest footing against a challenge from the federal government.”26 Another option is for a state government to authorize CUES through administrative action by


the executive branch. Health agencies have “rulemaking authority” to protect public health. Although this scope of power varies, in the state of New York, for example, the health commissioner can exempt “classes of persons from the needle prescription laws” which he or she can use to authorize syringe exchange programs.27 In most states, governors can issue an executive order that would not conflict with an existing law. While the “ability to alter controlled substances rules is generally narrow” and could be “challenged as exceeding the executive’s authority,” if it goes unchecked it could have the same authority as state legislation.28 The last option lies with the local government providing their own authorization. Most municipalities have “some police power to protect public health and have the discretion to implement programs that are supported by reasonable evidence of effectiveness in combating existing health threats.”29 By following a similar model outlined by the syringe exchange programs discussed previously, a mayor, local health commissioner, county agency, or city government could authorize the CUES, but they would be on the weakest footing against a federal challenge and could be “attacked as conflicting with state law.” This option would also require “explicit or implicit agreement among stakeholders to avoid arrests and other legal challenges.”30 While states and municipalities can technically authorize CUES,


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Figure 6: A view inside the pop-up safe injection site in Moss Park in Toronto, Canada.

they cannot nullify federal drug laws, begging the question: how should Philadelphia proceed?

LESSONS LEARNED: OPIOID TASK FORCE In Philadelphia, the Mayor assembled a task force in January of 2017 to find recommendations on how to handle the opioid problem and then to subsequently visit CUES in other cities. The Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia issued a report on the “harm reduction potential” of supervised injection sites in Philadelphia using existing data on similar sites and local data to “estimate the potential reduction in overdose deaths, new HIV and hepatitis C infections, and health care utilization as a result of CUES.”31 The Task Force combined this data and observations collected from visits to Seattle and Vancouver to make recommendations in terms of CUES, neighborhood environment improvements, treatment, criminal justice, and other harm reduction services. They reviewed law enforcement and community perspectives in the other cities, the role of local government, and how these sites would be part of a continuum of care.32 The Task Force found that good communication and coordination between health and public safety officials is imperative. In Vancouver, the Chief

of Police provided support for harm reduction services like CUES, but the facilities are viewed as a “fatality-prevention strategy not a crime-prevention strategy.”33 In addition, the Task Force found that different legal structures and political dynamics are important. In Vancouver, facilities are operated by non-profit providers and receive funding from the Provincial government with support from the City. This was advocated for to keep things less formal and reduce barriers to access for patients.34 In Seattle, however, “the City intends to use a state law that provides broad powers in a health emergency to open a facility. The City, rather than a non-profit organization, will open and manage the site. This initiative enjoys broad support from the Council and Mayor. Local officials emphasized that because the City is running it as a pilot, they recognize the need a more formal, medical/clinical environment that will support their ability to evaluate the pilot.”35 Based on the Task Force’s findings, Philadelphia agreed they should explore the possibility of implementing one or more CUES, on a pilot basis. According to the final report issued by the City, the Task Force members agreed that deploying CUES in Philadelphia would “require a serious process of planning and community engagement… In addition, engagement... In addition, there are serious legal impediments that would need to be addressed....”36


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Figure 7: CUES, though similar to safe injection sites, attempt to go beyond offering a safe space. They seek to engage and encourage users into treatment and facilitate that transition.

THE PATH FORWARD: WH AT WILL PHIL ADELPHIA DO NEXT? Drug addiction is a stigmatized and controversial topic, but when proposing to institute CUES within communities that have endured decades of crime, violence, and death due to this issue, it becomes far more complex. Philadelphia has an opportunity to become a model for other cities in the United States with the establishment of CUES. As of October 10, 2018, the City identified Safehouse, a nonprofit organization, to be the provider of overdose prevention services. The City is currently assisting Safehouse in finding funding and securing a location, “as well as addressing the legal issues and meeting with stakeholders and community members.”37 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently said that if CUES opened in Philadelphia, “the response from federal authorities would be swift and aggressive.”38 Despite this claim, city officials have said this will not prevent them from moving forward. Former Governor and Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, who incorporated the non-profit Safehouse, puts himself on the line in response to Rosenstein, “This can save lives. There’s no question about it,” Rendell said. “I think everybody involved in the program is ready to absorb the risk, myself included.”39 Currently, Safehouse’s non-profit status is under review. The Pennsylvania Department of State has approved the application, but it is now pending under the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt status, an 18-month process. Moving forward, the


Kenney administration has taken the approach that “[t]he city will not be formally involved, and no public money will be devoted to the facility. Yet city leaders support the effort.”40 Ultimately, the decision made by the City is incredibly risky. They have put the fate of CUES facilities in the hands of a federal administration where it is unclear if officials will follow through on their word to shut down such operations. The local, state, and federal legal options outlined above seem straightforward on paper, but with emotions and political agendas at play, nothing is certain. The science and evidence are there to support CUES and the benefit they have for their communities, but the political will is stifled. The enforcement of morality and what has been previously deemed illegal based on antiquated circumstances appear to take precedence over the health, safety, and welfare of a significant portion of our country. Ed Rendell says, “sometimes you have to ignore bad laws in order to pursue good policy … the history of this country is about change brought about by people having the courage to say, ‘this law makes no sense.”41 Perhaps this is true. It has come to the point where almost no one has been untouched by the opioid crisis. It is evident at our family gatherings, on our streets, and on the nightly news. It is an epidemic, and while the approach to the crisis might seem counterintuitive, it has been proven to save lives. While implementing CUES might seem radical to some, that might be exactly what the law needs, a radical change, to make a real difference.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danielle is a Senior Graphics Editor for Panorama and a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student in the Urban Design concentration. With graduation on the horizon, Danielle hopes to remain in Philadelphia working to design equitable space in the public realm. She loves any excuse to travel and can’t wait for more free time to paint, run, and knit (even though it makes her sneeze).

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Sasko, Claire. “Here’s What Kenney’s Opioid Disaster Declaration Means for Kensington.” Welcome | Philadelphia Magazine. October 04, 2018. Accessed December 13, 2018. 2 Opioid Emergency Response Exec. Order No. 3-18, 3 C.F.R. 1-4 (2018). 3 Joel Gunter, “As an Open-air Heroin Camp Is Closed, Options Narrow,” BBC News, July 21, 2017, accessed November 23, 2018, 4 Ibid. 5 Sam Wood and Stephanie Farr, “Philly and Conrail to Clean up ‘heroin Hellscape’,”, June 15, 2017, accessed November 23, 2018, 6 ‘Ground Breaks for Philly Greenway along Former Conrail Heroin Hotspot,” WHYY, accessed November 23, 2018, 7 Sam Wood and Stephanie Farr, “Philly and Conrail to Clean up ‘heroin Hellscape’.”, June 15, 2017. 8 9 Michaela Winberg, “5 Common Misconceptions about Philly’s ‘safe-injection Site’ (aka CUES),” Billy Penn, January 31, 2018, accessed November 23, 2018, 10  ’Safe-injection Site’ More Likely for Philly, but Big Hurdles to Clear,” WHYY, accessed November 23, 2018, 11 Ibid. 12 “What ‘safe-injection Sites’ Sound like to People on the Front Lines of the City’s Drug Wars,” PlanPhilly | What ‘safe-injection Sites’ Sound like to People on the Front Lines of the City’s Drug Wars, accessed November 23, 2018, 13 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 98, no. 2 (2008): 231-37. doi:10.2105/ajph.2006.103747. 14 “Legal Authorities Under the Controlled Substances Act to Combat the Opioid Crisis.” Congressional Research Service, April 16, 2018. 15 “Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act.” SECTION V. Accessed December 14, 2018. 16 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 98, no. 2 (2008): 231-37. doi:10.2105/ajph.2006.103747. 17 “Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act.” SECTION V. Accessed December 14, 2018. https://www. 18 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 98, no. 2 (2008): 231-37. doi:10.2105/ajph.2006.103747. 19 Gonzalez v Raich, 545 US 1 (2005). 20 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” 21 Education and research programs of attorney general, 21 USCA §872(e) (2006). 22 Kandra LR. Questioning the foundation of attorney general

Ashcroft’s attempt to invalidate Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. Oregon Law Rev. 2002;81:505-550. 23  Engrossed Amendment, H.R.3043, 110th Cong. (2007). 24 Burris S, Finucane D, Gallagher H, Grace J. The legal strategies used in operating syringe exchange programs in the United States. Am J Public Health. 1996;86(8):1161-6. 25 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” 26 Ibid. 27 NY Comp Codes R & Regs Tit 10, §80.135 (2006). 28 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” 29 Sands CD, Libonati ME. Local Government Law. Rev ed. Wilmette, Ill: Callaghan; 1999. 30 Beletsky, Leo, Corey S. Davis, Evan Anderson, and Scott Burris. “The Law (and Politics) of Safe Injection Facilities in the United States.” 31 REPORT ON EXPLORATORY SITE VISITS FOR COMPREHENSIVE USER ENGAGEMENT SITE (CUES) 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid. 34 Connelly, Joel. “Safe Injection Site in Seattle’s 2018 Budget, Council Holds off on Head Tax.” December 07, 2017. Accessed December 14, 2018. php. 35  REPORT ON EXPLORATORY SITE VISITS FOR COMPREHENSIVE USER ENGAGEMENT SITE (CUES). 36 37 38 Allyn, Bobby. “DOJ’s Rosenstein: If Philly Opens Injection Site, U.S. Crackdown Will Be Swift.” WHYY. August 30, 2018. Accessed December 16, 2018. 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid. Figure 1: Photo by Michelle Alcott Holyoke Needle Exchange, Flickr. Figure 2: Photo by Michelle Alcott Holyoke Needle Exchange, Flickr. Figure 3: Photo by Emma Lee, WHYY, Figure 4: Photo by Hannah Long-Higgins, BBC, https://bbc. in/2Jb07Zv. Figure 5: Photo by Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press via AP, Figure 6: Photo by David Maialetti, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Figure 7: Photo by rubalisciousness on Flickr.


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Figure 1: In 2014, citizens protested a Seattle Housing Authority program that would raise rents in subsidized housing and inevitably lead to evictions.

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he United States is in the midst of a rental housing affordability crisis. Increasing percentages of households are rent-burdened (paying >30 percent of income on rent) and severely rent-burdened (>50 percent of income). This crisis has been brought on by the increasing demand for rental housing, the inability for supply to keep up with demand, and the astonishing misalignment of federal housing policy that curbs subsidies away from low-income and cost-burdened households that need them most. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) must reevaluate the ingrained logic behind its redistribution of wealth to ensure access to adequate and affordable housing for all Americans. In addition to the back-to-the-city movement and the increasing numbers of baby boomers reentering the rental market, the 13 million foreclosures from 2007 to 2012 compounded demand in the rental market.1,2 On top of this growing demand, restrictive zoning, land use policies, and NIMBY politics have limited housing supply in many of the nation’s hot markets. As demand has surged and median rents increased by 32 percent between 2001 and 2015, median household income remained stagnant, and the proportion of rent-burdened households doubled as a result.3 Housing quantity has been improved over time by numerous federal policies and initiatives dating back to the Tenement Housing Acts and the New Deal, but quality remains a major issue for lowincome households, and many have to trade between quality and affordability when looking for a place to live. In 2017, 89 percent of renter households with incomes below $20,000 were cost-burdened.4 While just 36 percent of the nation’s households are renters,

renters make up 60 percent of all severely costburdened households, with many living under the constant threat of eviction.5 This growing crisis calls for a renewed conversation around a universal right to housing, a right which is spelled out in many constitutions across the world, but not in the U.S. Constitution.6 Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims a right to housing as well. United Nations: Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 25: (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Despite federal efforts to address inadequate housing conditions, race-, gender-, and class-based discrimination, homelessness, and natural disasters, these problems remain prevalent today. To continue to address these problems more effectively and ensure the rights put forth in Article 25, the United States must adopt a federal statutory entitlement to housing. This entitlement will guarantee the availability of adequate and affordable housing for lower- and middle-income households and those affected by climate change and natural disasters, while furthering the Fair Housing Act. It will facilitate the expansion of existing federal programs to effectively create a universal safety net in the rental housing market to address the hardship in which more and more renters find themselves. A RIGHT TO HOUSING

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20M 10M




19M 7M


Figure 2: Comparing cost-burdened renter and owner households.

The federal government currently subsidizes middle- and upper-class homeowners far more than it does low-income renters and owners, spending $200 billion annually on homeowner subsidies compared to just $50 billion on affordable housing. Only one in four renter households that qualify for housing subsidies in the United States currently receive any aid.7 Homeowner subsidies include the Mortgage Interest Deduction Tax, for which households with six-figure incomes receive 85 percent of the benefits; property tax abatements, which are often used to spur interest in underinvested urban areas and usually do not have income restrictions; and the Home Sale Capital Gains Tax, which does provide a welcome break to homeowners selling their homes for a modest profit, but also provides unnecessarily large deductions for homeowners who don’t need them.8 Perhaps the largest of these squandered opportunities is the Imputed Rent tax deduction, where homeowners are exempted from paying taxes on the imaginary rent they pay to live in their own home. This policy benefits homeowners of all social classes, but disproportionately benefits households for which homeownership is financially feasible. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates this exemption to add up to $1 trillion of untaxed ‘income’ that is factored into the GDP, which is equivalent to what the U.S. spends on healthcare each year, or 20-times what the federal government spends on affordable housing.9 The reluctance of many Americans to reconsider these regressive policies can be attributed to the preconceived notion that housing subsidies go to a group of people referred to as the ‘undeserving’ poor. In his book The Undeserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty, Michael B. Katz refutes the assumptions made about poor Americans and calls for us to consider how these assumptions have manifested themselves in federal policy. Low social mobility is the failure of the government, the market,









Figure 3: Subsidy for wealthy homeowners is nearly triple that of poor renters.

and ingrained power structures to provide quality and affordable housing and access to opportunity. Along with debunking the myth of the undeserving poor, we must reconsider the current framing of affordable housing policy around the concept of ‘self-sufficiency.’ Housing subsidies are not just vouchers and public housing; they are also the homeowner tax breaks that many middle- and upperclass households enjoy. The goal of achieving selfsufficiency for poor households receiving government assistance should be reframed as a goal to achieve economic security.10 The middle- and upper-class Americans receiving homeowner benefits from the government are not technically ‘self-sufficient’ either, and accepting government aid should not be seen as a sign of weakness. The reallocation of subsidy to lower income households that need it most will require a fundamental cultural and political shift around the redistribution of wealth. Additionally, if the government does in fact have an inherent responsibility to guarantee the welfare of its people, then housing assistance as a proactive measure is much cheaper than the cost of homelessness and housing instability in social services, a reactive measure. According to former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, homelessness and housing instability can cost between $35,000 to $150,000 per household per year in social services, while housing assistance costs a much more modest $13,000 to $25,000 per person per year.11 Housing is a crucial first step in improving the welfare of poor households and reducing the overall need for more costly and reactive emergency social services. There was once a time when women’s suffrage, civil rights, and marriage equality seemed as distant as a federally instituted right to housing. In this moment when millions of Americans cannot afford adequate housing and this number is only projected to grow, there is no better time to push for a universal right to housing.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Benjamin Palevsky is a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. He grew up in New York City, and prior to graduate school he worked at the NYC Department of City Planning. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan. Ben is passionate about investment in public health, equity, and environmental sustainability through progressive policy, public infrastructure, and design.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 “American Families Face a Growing Rent Burden.” The Pew Charitable Trusts. April 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019. https:// 2 Stricker, Christine. “U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 13-Year Low in 2018.” ATTOM Data Solutions. January 17, 2019. Accessed February 27, 2019. 3 “American Families Face a Growing Rent Burden.” The Pew Charitable Trusts. April 2018. Accessed February 27, 2019. https:// 4 American Community Survey, 2017. 5 Fischer, Will, and Barbara Sard. “Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. March 8, 2017. Accessed February 27, 2019. https://www. 6 “Advancing the Right to Housing in the United States Using International Law as a Foundation.” International Human Rights Committee, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, February 2016. 7 Collinson, Robert, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Jens Ludwig. “Low-Income Housing Policy.” Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, Volume 2, 2015. Accessed February 27, 2019. doi:10.3386/w21071. 8 Fischer, Will, and Barbara Sard. “Chart Book: Federal Housing Spending Is Poorly Matched to Need.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. March 8, 2017. Accessed February 27, 2019. 9 Bobkoff, Dan. “US Homeowners Get a Huge Tax Break Almost Nobody Knows About, and It’s Even Part of GDP.” Business Insider. October 01, 2016. Accessed February 27, 2019. 10 Bratt, Rachel G., Chester Hartman, and Michael E. Stone. A Right to Housing: Foundation for a New Social Agenda. Chapter 8, The Case for a Right to Housing. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2006. 11 Moorhead, Molly. “HUD Secretary Says a Homeless Person Costs Taxpayers $40,000 a Year.” Politifact. March 12, 2012. Accessed February 27, 2019. Figure 1: Garland, Alex. “Seattle Housing Authority Welcomed by Demonstration at Yesler Community Center.” The Dignity Virus, 18 Sept. 2014,

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Si ng






il y le Sty











Instructors: Ariel Vazquez, Blackney Hayes Architects Students: Ethan Genyk Alex Krefetz Heather Liang Kerri May Nikhil Tangirala Liz Volchok Jialin Wang Samantha Whitfield









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Multi-Family Style




Transferable skill development by connecting similar economic sectors

Residential Single-Family Residential Multi-Family Vacant Buildings Philadelphia Land Bank




Existing Residential Zoning and Vacancies, with an overlay of the proposed Cooperative emergency housing model

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Potential paths that emergency evacuees could take through the studio's recommended strategies and initiatives.


nderstanding the planning implications of Hurricane Maria requires looking beyond just Puerto Rico. After the storm, evacuees migrated from the island to the mainland to recover from the storm’s damages and coordinate their plans to return to the island or to provide for themselves and their families in a new location. In order to better understand how evacuees navigated Philadelphia’s network of governmental and non-governmental aid actors, this studio focused its efforts on learning what shaped the experiences of evacuees in the months following the storm and how the city could better prepare for future evacuation events. Through Penn’s connections with Puerto Rican community organizations active in the city, students first focused efforts on interviewing those who had worked in the months following the storm to meet the needs of evacuees. Speaking with governmental, non-profit, and individuals active in administering aid allowed for a broader understanding of the opportunities and constraints available to each type of actor. Over the course of the studio, these aid actors became the focus point of final recommendations and deliverables. At the end of the semester, students presented a vision of Philadelphia better able to meet the needs of evacuees in future storm events to an

audience of peers, professors, and aid actors. Specific recommendations were made across four frameworks: “establish” encompassed the city’s existing infrastructure to administer aid and engage in long-term planning; “settle” focused on meeting housing needs of incoming populations, with a focus on Puerto Rican neighborhoods in Northeastern Philadelphia; “build” cultivated education and workforce development skills for those whose employment would be in flux after a move; and “thrive” combined cultural competency alongside physical and mental healthcare needs of incoming populations. These frameworks developed a web of resources, understanding that no evacuee’s needs were uniform, and a final plan to reflect the unique nature of the people it wished to serve. Throughout the project, a lack of publicly available data hindered the studio’s ability to learn about specific movement patterns and aid actor activity. The United States Government, as well as the City, was unable to account for the number of families who evacuated to the mainland and Philadelphia specifically. With this in mind, the studio focused on making its findings publicly available to ensure the work put forward by the Puerto Rican people of Philadelphia could not be forgotten.

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Instructors: David Gouverneur, Associate Professor of Practice in the Landscape Architecture Department Allison Lassiter, Assistant Professor in the City and Regional Planning Department Students: Julia Cohen Ayaka Habu Yichao Jia Dhruvi Kothari Katie Levesque Christopher Marshall Katerina Sicat Nicholas Wilk Tong Wu

Lagoon Waterfront Master Plan

The Rainforest Trail framework for the Naguabo region of Puerto Rico was designed to promote tourism as a system from the ridge to reef and through the area's settlements while simultaneously providing an emergency evacuation route and floodplain buffer from sea level rise and river flooding.



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Situated in a valley of the Karst region, Utuado faces issues of river management, informal construction, vulnerable infrastructure, and landslides.


xtremely destructive in their own right, Hurricanes Irma and Maria also revealed the severe structural and systematic problems that have affected Puerto Rico for decades. This interdisciplinary studio asked a team of city planning and landscape architecture students to collaboratively envision strategies and design solutions capable of addressing island-wide recovery while also fostering sustainable environmental, urban, and socioeconomic conditions for challenged Puerto Rican communities in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricane season. The Puerto Rico Resilience Plan is the product of the studio’s semester-long work. The interdisciplinary team engaged with three diverse sites in Puerto Rico: the area surrounding the San Jose Lagoon and Caño Martín Peña in San Juan; the mountainous region of Utuado, in the western central part of the island; and a region spanning from El Yunque National Forest to the coastline in the southeastern portion of the island.

SAN JUAN The San Jose Lagoon is part of the larger hydrologic system of the San Juan metropolitan region. Dredging and filling throughout the system over the past century has led to substantial problems of water quality and movement, as well as flooding in the surrounding areas. Historical development patterns have forced the area’s most vulnerable communities to settle in these less desirable areas.

of environmental, political, and economic factors that have driven the cyclical growth and decline of the municipality for decades. Still, Utuado is home to a diverse array of assets and culture that constitute the intrinsic value of the municipality.

NAGUABO Naguabo possesses a myriad of assets that contribute to its status as a notable tourist destination in Puerto Rico. But, Naguabo also suffers from islandwide systemic issues dramatically exposed in the wake of Hurricane Maria, including struggling road infrastructure and coastal flooding from storm surges and river overflow. Unlike the majority of Puerto Rico, Naguabo has a growing population. New auto-oriented subdivisions are being built in the floodplain, this will continue to exacerbate problems of flooding in the coming decades. The resulting plans take a systemic approach which builds on each focus area’s unique identity while addressing environmental vulnerabilities, economic challenges, and networks of community stakeholders. Though the three focus areas were selected for their distinctive conditions, the approaches outlined in this document are meant to be adaptable to other contexts on the island.

UTUADO The municipality of Utuado faces an incredibly layered and nuanced cross-section of issues that threaten the physical safety and socioeconomic opportunity afforded to its approximately 30,000 residents. These problems originate from the legacy


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Instructors: Nando Micale, Principal, LRK Students: Scott Betz Emily Galfond Brett Harris Terry Hogan Anagha Japrakasan Ellyse Murphy Benjamin Palevsky Zhongyuan (Echo) Zeng Huijuan Zhao

Clockwise from top: 24-month timeline for the four main stages of the planning process; existing Lloréns Torres site; group photo taken at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico.



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his studio sought to create a process that imagines the resilient redevelopment of the Luis Lloréns Torres housing project in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Located between Old San Juan and the international airport, Lloréns Torres is the largest public housing project in the United States. At 75 acres, it is home to around 7,000 residents in just under 2,500 units, and has a storied and at times notorious history. While it was built with larger social and economic goals in mind, Lloréns Torres rapidly became a site of concentrated poverty and structural inequality, and today is representative of the product of over a hundred years of exploitative and inequitable U.S. mainland housing and economic policies carried out at the island’s expense. The neighborhood is located in one of the most floodprone areas in the city, has dangerously failing infrastructure, and was significantly affected after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Despite these shortcomings, Lloréns Torres is home to a vibrant and incredibly tight-knit community that has adapted to react to and overcome the structural, socioeconomic, and built environment obstacles that are a fact of life for them. This community is the key to the future of Lloréns Torres, and this studio has worked to understand their needs and aspirations.

As we embarked on this process at the beginning of the semester to learn about Lloréns Torres, its history, challenges, and opportunities, admittedly we were daunted by if it was really possible to accurately and respectfully identify and represent the needs of a community so different from our own. When we visited the site, however, we were truly thankful for the opportunity we received to meet with members of Lloréns Torres, and we were so impressed with the vibrancy and strength of the community, and its ability to become so resilient in the face of disaster, structural inequality, and lack of economic opportunity. This plan is for them, and we have tried our best with what little resources we have to create a process that allows for the advancement of a redevelopment plan that allows for the needs of current and future residents to be brought to the forefront. The plan created in this studio is not meant to be a single prescribed future in and of itself, but rather a plan for a process that aims to empower Lloréns Torres residents to reimagine their neighborhood in a way that erases its past injustices, while also allowing the neighborhood to evolve to be prosperous and contextual. At the end of the day, we hope this plan can be used to equip residents with the tools they need to enact change.


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Figure 1: A detail of Furness’ Library, facing East. Note the variety of textures, forms, surfaces, and ornamentation. Source: Santiago Preciado, 2019.

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reservation practitioners use a values-based preservation to guide their intervention approaches, and this piece presents an additional tool worthy of consideration. How can we ascribe value to buildings based on the concept of craft, which itself is based upon the materiality, texture, and scale of a structure? This piece argues that craft is an important element in the equation that might help us determine historic importance and subsequent interventions. To an extent, we protect old buildings because of their aesthetic qualities and traditional architectural forms and techniques, which are no longer put into practice in new construction. Moreover, we hear about how things made in the past lasted longer than modern objects (even buildings) do in our ‘throwaway culture.’ We know that nothing lasts forever, but in the past there was an expectation that structures could last for a very long time. Now we consume with the knowledge that we’ll have to replace objects or buildings in x or y number of years. But what are these qualities of craftsmanship? Think of architectural elements that are now often considered passé, such as cornices, crenelations, lively brickwork, brackets, and general adornment, and compare these to contemporary techniques, which commonly make use of flat surfaces with little variety in material, texture, and form. What they lack in traditional ornamentation they make up for in technological progress and new design applications. Ostensibly the field of architecture has moved away from complex forms toward simpler forms with flat surfaces.

Arguably then, what makes old things ‘superior’ according to this model of valuation is the amount of effort that went into producing them: that is, their craftsmanship. This piece attempts to create a more quantifiable theory of craftsmanship for historic preservation, a field where it is hard to scientifically categorize or quantify values and meaning—which we still strive to do. When thinking about why an old building is aesthetically pleasing, perhaps the answer lies in nostalgia for a past where architects, designers, and laborers practiced a higher level of craftsmanship. Contemporary architecture and object-creation uses highly sophisticated technologies to mass-produce elements (be they drawings, parts, etc.) at a rate unimaginable to people of the past. The invention and subsequent mass production of plastics has only made more profound our one-time encounters with objects, creating a throwaway culture that harms not only the environment, but also ourselves. Perhaps it is a growing disconnect between human and finalized product, the intermediate stage, which makes us look to the older, aged works and assert that there was a higher quality of craftsmanship and labor put into the building or object. It is important to try to unpack this disconnect further. ‘Craftsmanship’ translates to quality of design and work, but in this model of valuation, what makes a building or object more valuable with age is the amount of time and labor that was dedicated to its creation. These are elements that can be deduced from a visual and textural inspection of the structure’s form, materiality, and scale. In observing an object or structure, one can read these elements by looking at the amount and style(s) of ornamentation that

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Figure 2: A detail of Huntsman Hall, showing the relatively smooth surfaces and paneled brick veneer (non-structural). Source: Santiago Preciado 2019.

went into its design. When something looks visually ‘busier,’ we might assume that it required more skill, time, and labor. Perhaps this explains why post-war Modern architecture, which to the untrained eye might look very similar to our contemporary architecture (think glass, steel elements) has been undervalued in the preservation world at large. Preservationists are now currently battling to preserve the Modern, which has become aged and valuable. For example, the Union Carbide building at 270 Park Avenue in New York, which Chase Bank will soon demolish in the largest ever planned demolition, is now heralded as an architectural icon among preservationists. Although Modern architecture’s levels of ornamentation and salient features of craftsmanship are lesser in quantity and physicality than in older architectural styles, we might value it more because it is in a way ‘superior’ to our current architectural trends, not only because of its age but also because it embodies a higher quality of craftsmanship and labor than today’s buildings. For another example of this theory of craftsmanship, think of two prominent, reddish buildings that bookend Penn’s campus: at one end, we have Frank Furness’ historic and heavilyornamented Venetian Gothic library, while at the other we have Huntsman Hall, finished in 2002 and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. They bear certain


broad similarities in design in that they both make use of a tower element and a lower, elongated core area, along with a similar reddish hue. Perhaps Huntsman’s architects were deliberately trying to echo the historic library, paying homage to it by means of a contemporary form and application of color and materials. Despite those efforts, one can almost literally read the differing age and history of the two buildings through their built form. Furness’ Library makes use of very heavy stone masonry, copious adornment around the exterior and interior walls and parapets, and great amounts of intricate ornamentation. There is a sense of timelessness brought about by the highly textured built fabric, the materiality, the imposing scale, the sheer weight of the entire structure making its permanence felt. Go up and touch it. One can see where the stone-carvers cut, where the workers lifted. Contrast this with Huntsman Hall, a steelframed structure that made use of the most modern architectural, engineering, and material technologies. Its modernity is legible from the exterior; the builders clad it in the most similar-looking brick and thin stone slices, but there is visibly less ornamentation than on Furness Library. There are panels or repeated sets of brickwork that were clearly installed in large pieces. This of course does not demean its contemporary architecture—this is merely to say that the visible aesthetics, materiality, and texture


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Santiago Preciado Ovalle is completing his Master of Science in Historic Preservation this year, with a concentration in preservation planning and policy. He received his Bachelors from Vassar College, and hails from Queens, New York. His interests include preserving places and communities, and looking at how public policy can be leveraged to effect change socioeconomically, in the built and natural environments, and in his own communities in New York City, where he is an active community member in local politics and advocacy.

of Huntsman reveal the distance from conception to completion in terms of human labor. It is not to say that the man-hours required to complete Huntsman were less in quantity or effort than the man-hours and efforts required to complete Furness. Rather, there is a very real lack of manual craft from idea to finished product. Before, almost all tasks were done by hand – from design to construction with more rudimentary technologies – now, there is a wider distance between creator and creation, caused by technological progress which allows for faster designs and completions at the expense of a diminished physical, tangible craftsmanship. While it is indeed easier to build today than just 50 or 100 years ago, surely one day in the future the human connection with our creations will be even more heavily obstructed as technology progresses. It is our nostalgia, our imagined and real memories of the past, the scale of past buildings, and their materiality and texture that will make us increasingly value them and the craftsmanship that went into their creation. Craft has not entirely disappeared, but rather it has changed as a result of technological progress, and the direct human connection has diminished. Taking craftsmanship into account might prove useful in our valuations of all elements of the built environment, as we attempt to understand how best to manage change over time.

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Figure 1: New development looms above The Showbox Theater and Pike Place Market. Preserving this area in the face of development pressure is a major challenge for Seattle.

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n the past five years, Seattle has garnered a reputation for rapid growth and development. As new people and new buildings fill the city, a new local culture of tech and outdoor lifestyles is emerging. Alongside this newer culture is an older one rooted in alternative music and arts that is still prized by long-time residents; however, recent growth and increasing prices threaten it through the loss of landmark businesses and buildings. Seattle residents and policy makers are attempting to use existing preservation policies to protect local landmarks without prohibiting growth. While the policies are effective at preservation, their weaknesses make the city vulnerable to property rights and police power lawsuits. The Showbox Theater in the Pike Place neighborhood is an example of threats to local culture, potential weaknesses of preservation law, and the lawsuits that can result. In July 2018, after a real estate developer filed plans for an apartment tower at the site, City Council passed an ordinance temporarily adding the site to nearby Pike Place Market Historical District. In response, the owner filed a lawsuit alleging that the ordinance was an overreach of police power.1 While the suit is unlikely to succeed in showing that there is an overreach violating the Washington doctrine of substantive due process, the door for a lawsuit such as this was opened by discrepancies between how landmarks and historic districts are treated, both in law and in practice. For future preservation efforts to avoid similar challenges, Seattle code should standardize incentives for

preservation and ensure that a property’s significance is assessed according to the standards of all available programs.

BACKGROUND ON THE CASE On July 25, 2018, news broke that developer Omni Group had filed plans to build a 44-story apartment tower on the site of The Showbox.2 After strong resident opposition to the eighty-yearold theater’s demolition, city council fast-tracked an ordinance that would add the site to the Pike Place Market Historical District for ten months.3 In response, the building’s owner, Roger Forbes, filed a lawsuit with King County Superior Court arguing that the ordinance was an illegal overreach of police power. Sub-allegations were made to support the broad challenges: the site is not historically significant, the ordinance is an unnecessarily harsh method, the owner’s reasonable expectations were violated, and there was an unexpected reduction in property value. The suit sought to invalidate the ordinance and receive compensation.4

APPLICABLE WASHINGTON L AW In Washington, municipal police powers granted by the state constitution are unusually flexible and able to expand or shift to meet local needs.5 Case law, however, has demonstrated some meaningful limits on municipal police power, including the doctrine of substantive due process.6 This doctrine means that municipal actions taken under legitimate rights of police power may be considered an overreach if they violate the rights of other citizens.

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Figure 2: The Showbox Theater still draws crowds to the Pike Place Market area for shows. When the building was threatened, the public reaction prompted City Council to act.

Washington courts use a three-part test to see whether such overreach has occurred, analyzing (1) whether the regulation is designed to achieve a legitimate public purpose; (2) whether the means used are reasonably necessary to achieve that purpose, and (3) whether those means are unduly oppressive on the landowner.7,8

regulation are well-established in municipal code. Third, while potential changes to the property must be approved by a regulatory body, no changes are explicitly forbidden. Finally, the regulation contained in the ordinance is temporary, with a tenmonth sunset if City Council fails to develop a more permanent solution.



The new ordinance expanded the boundaries of the Pike Place Market Historical District and for a third time placed The Showbox under the jurisdiction of the district’s historical commission. The commission reviews any changes to physical fabric or building use based on how changes impact architectural, cultural, economic, historic value, and how it feels to be in the area.9 City Council argued that landmarks in the neighborhood outside the district are disappearing “faster than protections of the district may be applied.” The Showbox is seen as a significant cultural asset whose potential loss would threaten historic and cultural values of the neighborhood.10 In the context of a substantive due process challenge, four aspects of the ordinance are significant. First, it lays out a clear, emergent public purpose as justification. Second, the means of


The first step in analyzing substantive due process claims is to assess whether the ordinance serves a legitimate public purpose. The court is likely to rule in the city’s favor on this point because historic preservation has long been accepted as a public interest in Washington, as seen in Conner v. City of Seattle. The court stated that “Seattle’s historical landmarks are features of the urban environment, and the [Landmarks Preservation Ordinance] was enacted to protect them,” thereby upholding a decision to block development on a designated site.11 The prominent public support for The Showbox should also benefit the city’s case, as evidenced in Edmonds Shopping Center Associates v. City of Edmonds, in which the court cited public support as a demonstration of legitimate public interest.12


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Figure 4: The main entrance of Pike Place Market.

The court is also likely to rule in the city’s favor regarding whether regulatory methods used were reasonably necessary to achieve the public purpose. In Conner, the court found that rejecting the development proposal was clearly connected to the stated purpose of Seattle’s landmarks regulations. The means used in The Showbox case are also clearly connected to the goal; the site was threatened, so the city placed it in an established district that would monitor development while the city worked out a more permanent solution. In the final part of the analysis, the court examines the ordinance in detail from both the city’s and the owner’s perspectives. The city has a strong case that the problem they sought to address was serious and that the property owner contributed to the problem. Preserving the character of Pike Place Market is essential to protect property values, draw tourists, and promote general welfare.13 The Showbox, adjacent to a market entrance, affects the area’s character, similar to adjacent properties added to the district in the past.14 The city also has a case that the ordinance is not oppressive and that less oppressive solutions would not have been effective. The historical district has been an accepted use of police power in general for nearly forty years and does not forbid any changes outright. The sunset period further softens the city’s use of police power.

Alternative proposals by the developer such as relocating the theater would cause loss of significant use and fabric and would not protect the site in the future.

WEAKNESSES IN THE CIT Y’S CASE & PRESERVATION L AW While the city’s case appears strong, quirks in Seattle preservation law highlight several potential weaknesses. One weakness is in potential impact on the owner in terms of lost value. Neither the ordinance nor municipal code governing the historical district mention financial incentives to owners of designated buildings. While the court may decide not to rule on this question because property devaluation cannot be definitively known until a specific proposal is denied by the Historical Commission, a challenge involving a specific project at a later time may struggle to show no adverse impact. The lack of financial incentives to offset decreases in property value would weaken the city’s case that the regulation is not unduly oppressive. Of greater concern is that the owner argues he could not have anticipated the current regulation because of a 2007 Department of Neighborhoods Survey.15 Since 2000, Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods has surveyed more than 5,000

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properties to identify significant properties before they are threatened.16 The survey deemed that The Showbox Theater was too altered to meet criteria for a Seattle landmark and declared it insignificant.17 Given this circumstance, the owner’s belief that protecting the property is an overreach is understandable. However, the survey was based on Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation law, which is separate from law governing historical districts like Pike Place in Seattle code. The two programs are quite different; the landmarks chapter aims only to protect physical buildings rather than use, and to be designated, a property must be connected to a specific historic moment or architectural style rather than general area character. Finally, the landmark designation process allows for economic incentives.18 Because the 2007 survey was based in a different section of code with different goals and requirements, it did not consider The Showbox’s potential significance to the Pike Place Market Historical District. The survey ignored the integrity of the theater’s use, which has continued for nearly eighty years, and the structure’s significance to the aura of the surrounding neighborhood.19 The survey’s findings should therefore have no bearing on The Showbox’s addition to the Pike Place Market Historical District.

LEARNING FROM THE SHOWBOX CASE: RECOMMENDATIONS While the city is likely to prevail in proving that the ordinance is not an overreach of police power in The Showbox lawsuit, discrepancies between different parts of Seattle’s complex preservation policy could have allowed the owner to believe that his property could not be historically-designated and made an addition to the historic district seem financially oppressive. Because historical districts and landmarks are operated separately and have different goals, a survey may only address one program’s criteria for designation, passing over buildings that may be eligible in a different context. Historical districts also cannot access the economic incentives available to landmarks.20 To strengthen Seattle’s preservation law against future suits, it should be streamlined to address the lack of holistic surveys and incentives while retaining the benefits of having a variety of programs. Separate historical districts allow for tailoring preservation goals to particular locations; preserving local businesses and longtime uses, for instance, may be more important in some parts of the city than others. The solution is not to scale back to a single program but to ensure that the variety of different programs communicate with each other and share key components.


Creation of a single historic preservation chapter of the Seattle Municipal Code would be one method to achieve this goal. The chapter would begin with common elements, such as common goals of protecting the urban environment and financial incentives. Incentives such as transfer of development rights could be automatically available to owners of all designated properties without a major impact on the city’s budget.21 The overarching chapter could also include a section detailing all programs’ criteria for designation to ensure that future preservation surveys encompass all available preservation programs. The new chapter would then address each program’s goals and procedures in turn, clearly stating the role of each within the larger preservation policy. This section would detail the programs’ distinct functional aspects, such as district-specific historical commissions. Placing all the programs on an equal footing within a larger chapter would also discourage property owners from seeing any one of them as the preeminent development tool, forgetting about the others.

CONCLUSION The Showbox lawsuit has important implications for preservation law in Seattle. The case demonstrates that preservation policy is welldesigned to withstand a substantive due process challenge given the Washington court precedent, and the City’s temporary expansion of the Pike Place Market Historic District is likely to be upheld in this dimension. However, one of the main reasons the City was vulnerable to this lawsuit is that Seattle’s preservation policy is insufficiently holistic. Preservation surveys may be based on only one program’s criteria for significance, and economic incentives are available to landmarks but not to historical districts. The surveys also prevent some preservation from occurring when it should. As a result, City Council must scramble to protect some properties when they are threatened. Given Seattle’s rapid rate of development, other undesignated but culturally significant buildings are likely to be threatened in the future. Seattle should reconcile the problematic differences between its preservation programs and put them together under one section of code. This action would help designate properties before they are threatened and would make preservation more palatable for property owners, which would in turn help historic Seattle thrive even as the city changes in the future.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katherine (Katie) Randall is in her final year of a dual master’s program in City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation. Her area of interest is community preservation, which she defines as supporting under-privileged communities not only through affordability, but by protecting local identity and maximizing resident agency in planning. A native of Massachusetts, she considers Seattle her adopted hometown and plans to relocate there permanently in the spring of 2019.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Black, Lester. “It Just Got Harder for the Showbox’s Owner to Win His Lawsuit against the City.” The Stranger, October, 2018. 2 Nelson, Sean. “Yesterday, the Showbox Turned 79—Today, Its Demolition Was Announced.” The Stranger. July, 2018. 3 Black, Lester. “City Council Temporarily Blocks Demolition of the Showbox.” The Stranger. August, 2018.

Figure 1: Photo by Prayitno. Flickr Creative Commons. Figure 2: Photo by Laura Musselman Duff., “Gutter Twins.” Creative Commons. Figure 3: Exhibit from Ordinance 125650. Figure 4: Photo by Mtaylor444. Wikimedia Commons.

4 Secaira, Manola and Lilly Fowler. “Showbox Owner Strikes Back with Lawsuit.” Crosscut. September, 2018. 5 Spitzer, Hugh D. “Municipal Police Power in Washington State.” Wash. L. Rev. 75 (2000): 495. 6 Wash. Const. art. I, § 3 and § 16. 7 Presbytery of Seattle v. King County, 114 Wn.2d 320, 330, 787 P.2d 907 (1990). 8 Peste v. Mason County, 133 Wn. App. 456, 475 (2006). 9 Seattle, Washington Municipal Code, Title 24, Chapter 25, § 60, § 30-40, § 80. 10 “An Ordinance relating to the Pike Place Market Historical District; amending Chapter 25.24 of the Seattle Municipal Code to adopt an interim boundary expansion for the Pike Place Market Historical District,” CB 119330 §1; Ord. 114863 (1989) §1 and Ord. 113199 (1986) §1. 11 Conner v. City of Seattle, 153 Wn. App. 673 (2009), review denied, 168 Wn.2d 1040 (2010). 12 Edmonds Shopping Center Associates v. City of Edmonds, 117 Wn. App. 363 (2003). 13 Seattle Municipal Code § 25.24.010. 14 Seattle Municipal Code § 25.24.020. 15 Secaira, Manola, and Lilly Fowler. “Showbox Owner Strikes Back.” 16 “Historic Resources Survey,” Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, ownsurveyandinventoryresults. 17 “Results of the Downtown Historic Resources Survey and Inventory 2007.” Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program. http:/ inventory_07_results.htm#cat4. 18 Seattle Municipal Code § 25.12.010, 370, 390, 430, 490. 19 “Seattle Historical Sites: 1412 1st Ave,” Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, QueryResult.aspx?ID=-733055381. 20 Seattle Municipal Code §25.12.520. 21 Seattle Municipal Code § 25.12.120.

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Figure 1: Children play outside the Raymond Rosen Public Housing Projects at 22nd and Diamond Streets - 1956.

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indy Thompson-Fullilove’s concept of “root shock” is an idea that shapes my life and the story of my family. The traumatic stress reaction to the destruction of all or part of one’s emotional ecosystem, as examined by Fullilove, is a condition that I hope to never experience.1 As I look at my family history, I see a pattern of root shock throughout the timeline. From the Great Migration through urban renewal and now in the midst of gentrification, it seems inevitable that one day, I too, will be root shocked if nothing is done to prevent it. I examine my family’s experience of living in Philadelphia through the period of urban renewal and beyond to identify ways that I can prevent the cycle from repeating itself once again. From 1949 to 1973, urban renewal bulldozed over 2,000 neighborhoods in the United States. The Philadelphia Housing Authority’s (PHA) largest public housing development, the Raymond Rosen Housing Project at 22nd and Diamond Streets, was one of these neighborhoods. Opening in June of 1954, the Raymond Rosen Projects was named in honor of the former chairman of PHA and remains the largest PHA complex in history. 2 Also known as “The Valley,” the $13,300,000 development constructed by PHA was federally subsidized and comprised of eight 13-story buildings and 308 low-rise rowhomes, totaling 1,122 units.3 Rent was strictly incomebased and included hot and cold running water, heat, electric light, refrigeration, and gas. Families were thrilled to have larger living spaces, a safe environment and “all-around conveniences” provided by the new building.4 My maternal grandparents William and Pauline Bussey, along with their growing family, was one of the families moving there in 1959.

Interviewing my grandmother, now 85, highlighted the demand created by the new development. She remembers going to the rental office of Raymond Rosen every day for a month inquiring about vacancies to escape their heatless apartment on Dauphin Street. By her account, “The Valley was a nice place to live.” It was a safe neighborhood, clean, and the center courtyard was a great place to play for her children. She also remembers a strong sense of community, sharing food with neighbors at group dinners, and often babysitting each other’s children. The Raymond Rosen Projects were hailed as a huge success by PHA and residents alike. After narrowly escaping an assault coming home from a late-night work shift, my grandmother and her family moved out of the Raymond Rosen in 1963. Over time, incidences of crime steadily rose. By 1968, the project constructed to alleviate substandard living conditions for the poor developed many of the same issues present in tenants’ former residences. Widespread heating, plumbing, and electrical problems plagued The Valley, subjecting residents to cold and unsanitary conditions. Uncollected garbage left inside and outside the building only added to the existing sanitation problems. An infestation of rats, roaches, and termites comes as no surprise considering the condition of the building and its surrounding area.5 The culmination of these conditions led City Councilmember Cecil B. Moore, a lawyer and civil rights activist in North Philadelphia, to call the development a “government subsidized cesspool.”6 Moore went on to criticize PHA for the poor management of the project, stating “the government does more to take care of the animals at the zoo than the people of Raymond

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Figure 2: The demolition of all eight Raymond Rosen Public Housing buildings in 1995 permanently displaces The Valley.

Rosen.”7 Residents’ increasing safety concerns caused community level root shock, rupturing bonds and dispersing people in all directions.8 Over the next ten years, The Valley continued to decline. With no effort by PHA to address the condition of the buildings, residents took matters into their own hands, forming the Raymond Rosen Direct Action Association (RRDAA). The RRDAA organized several orderly demonstrations applying pressure to PHA, hoping the authority would address mounting issues present in The Valley.9 The direct-action strategy worked as intended and city officials took note of the community’s activism. Local newspapers published articles telling the stories of the residents to a broader audience outside of the immediate area. Unable to ignore the complaints any further, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated funding to improve the circumstances at Raymond Rosen Projects.10 Although PHA began improvements in 1978, the RRDAA was no longer seen as concerned citizens and instead viewed as troublemakers by city officials. Repairs inevitably went unfinished and the association continued to be critical of PHA. When installing replacement fire equipment, city workers added to the buildings’ disarray by abandoning packing materials in the hallways. New piping delivered to repair plumbing and heating systems


was left to sit in the complex’s open space areas, causing a severe safety hazard to residents, especially children.11 The RRDAA, unwavering in their mission to improve the community, decided to maintain its status as a community organization. By operating outside of PHA’s restrictive structure for official tenant councils, the RRDAA fell subject to unfair treatment with city officials blocking their attempts to secure a community center for meetings and events. Despite the new challenges the RRDAA forged ahead deciding to take PHA to federal court for infringing on their constitutional right to assemble.12 Seeing minimal action from PHA, the association of residents refocused their energy from fighting the system to taking responsibility into their own hands. In 1979, the RRDAA formed community patrols and instituted a curfew for youth in an attempt to tackle crime in the community.13 The executive director of the Direct Action Association also ran for city council, ultimately losing as a result of machine malfunctions. The loss spurred an impromptu march on election night by outraged residents.14 Persistent poor conditions caused the Raymond Rosen Projects to decline in residency. By the early 1980s, the development was widely abandoned. After 40 years, like many other high-rise public housing developments in the urban renewal era, the 1,122 units of The Valley were demolished and


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Figure 3: Pauline Bussey (left) celebrates the holidays with her three daughters (Muriel, Charmaine, and Vernelda) and neighbors in The Valley.

replaced with 552 single family attached townhomes in 1955.15 My mother, Muriel Whitfield, has a past eerily similar to that of her mother Pauline’s experience in The Valley. North Philadelphia in the 1980s was experiencing deindustrialization, increasing disinvestment, the crack epidemic, and the violence that came as a result. Witnessing the shooting of a teenager down the block from her starter home on 8th Street, Muriel, her husband Sidney, and their four children fled to Willingboro, NJ, in 1989. Affectionately called “The Boro,” Willingboro is one of the 1950s Levitt & Sons planned communities made available by the passage of fair housing laws. These laws allowed middle- and working-class Blacks, like my parents, to move out of the inner-cities to the formerly segregated suburbs.16 My hometown is a nice place to live and Muriel expresses her satisfaction with the community, citing the same qualities my grandmother loved about The Valley. Unfortunately, white flight after desegregation and the 2008 foreclosure crisis completely changed the demographics of my parents’ neighborhood, which lost almost 12,000 residents from 1970 to 2015, thereby shifting the racial makeup of the neighborhood from 11 percent Black to 71 percent Black.17,18 With a diminished tax base, abandoned

homes, deteriorating infrastructure, increased drug activity, and gun violence, the neighborhood saw the same resident safety concerns as those of yesteryear. The conditions that produced community root shock in The Valley is manifesting again in The Boro. Many families in town share the same African-American journey towards freedom described by Fullilove, which involves finding a place, building homes, making community, winning the battle for civil rights, and then hoping to dwell.19 As a resident of The Boro, community organizer and President of the Willingboro & Vicinity Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), my efforts to make community run parallel to those of the RRDAA. Together with other involved Boro residents, we demand to see a change in our community through orderly demonstrations and build programs to create the change we hope to see. Officials have attempted to block organizing efforts and deem interventions suggested by residents impractical and infeasible. Through the examination of my family’s history, the cycle of systematic disinvestment acts as a catalyst to root shock and repeats itself in The Valley and The Boro. This process results in producing the poor living conditions residents believed they had escaped.

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Figure 3: Attempting to heal from root shock, Muriel and 3 of her children (Samantha, Spencer and Stephanie) enjoy summer in the family’s Willingboro backyard with a neighbor from their North Philadelphia neighborhood.

The question remains: How do we prevent this cycle from happening again? After experiencing generations of displacement caused by systems of oppression and white supremacy in the United States, African-Americans and other communities of color must heed Fullilove’s charge for the 21st century to solve the problem of displacement.20 Entire neighborhoods in inner cities are again being displaced by gentrification without having time to heal from urban renewal. Although the journey towards freedom is making another cycle, creating neighborhoods in which to dwell may not only be an exercise in healing but also the key to prevention.21 Fullilove notes the concept most likely to save us from root shock is that of sustainability.22 Additionally, philosopher Hippocrates is credited with saying, “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”


For The Valley, the opportunity to create sustainability has passed due to destruction, distance, and time. Former residents continue to make an effort to connect in a lively Facebook group of more than 1,700 members and meet up for annual reunion events during the month of August.23 But with people actively assembling to improve the living conditions in The Boro, the opportunity still exists to end the cycle of root shock. A targeted effort to heal from displacement and dismantle the catalytic oppressive systems present in our communities could be the answer to keep shocked roots replanted and relocated communities intact.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Samantha Whitfield is a dedicated activist and community organizer in pursuit of a Master of City and Regional Planning degree with a concentration in Community and Economic Development. Witnessing the neighborhood decline in her hometown Willingboro, NJ, a Levittown planned suburb, Samantha aims to examine planning practices, power dynamics, and sustainability efforts in minority communities. The hope for more equitable neighborhoods motivates her commitment to doing everything she can to influence change.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Fullilove, Mindo Thompson. Root Shock: How Tearing up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It. Place of Publication Not Identified: NEW VILLAGE Press, 2016. 2 “Bidding Farewell to Queen Lane, Looking Ahead For PHA.” Hidden City Philadelphia RSS. Accessed March 01, 2019. https:// 3 Rosen project families love new homes. (1954, Jun 26). Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from https://proxy. docview/532014542?accountid=14707.

16 Mendenhall, Ruby. “The Political Economy of Black Housing: From the Housing Crisis of the Great Migrations to the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.” The Black Scholar40, no. 1 (2010): 20-37. doi:10.108 0/00064246.2010.11413507. 17 US Decennial Census 1970. Accessed February 18, 2019. 18 American Community Survey 2010-2015. Accessed February 18, 2019. 19 Fullilove, Root Shock, 24. 20 Fullilove, “Root Shock”, 5.

4 Rosen project families, 1954.

21 Fullilove, 233.

5 Infuriated residents of Raymond Rosen project intensify campaign to get rid of rats, roaches. (1968, Aug 03). Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from https://proxy.library. docview/532462521?accountid=14707.

22 Fullilove, 237.

6 Davis, J. (1978, Jan 14). Rosen projects called ‘cesspool’ by Cecil B. Moore. Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from https:// edu:2072/docview/532719921?accountid=14707. 7 Davis, J. (1978, Jan 14). Rosen projects called ‘cesspool’ by Cecil B. Moore. Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from https:// edu:2072/docview/532719921?accountid=14707.

23 Figure 1: The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia https:// Figure 2: First In Blog, philly-housing-director-in-foreclosure-seriously/#more-8070. Figure 3: Photo by William Luther Bussey. Figure 3 : Photo by Sidney Whitfield Sr.

8 Fullilove, Root Shock, 14. 9 Davis, J. (1978, Jul 11). Rosen project group takes PHA to court. Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from https://proxy. docview/532744302?accountid=14707. 10 Davis, Rosen project group. 11 Gibson, T. (1979, May 11). Raymond Rosen tenants tackle problems together. Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from 12 Davis, Rosen project group. 13 Gibson, Raymond Rosen tenants. 14 Rosen residents are angry about snafu. (1979, May 25). Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from https://proxy. docview/532779846?accountid=14707. 15 Berry, B. (1998, Jun 30). PHA opens new homes in the old Raymond Rosen Complex. Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from

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Figure 1: Planning and design proposal for Grays Ferry.

Figure 2: Pedestrian avenue public space design.

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n the fall of 2018, students in the Weitzman School of Design’s Fundamentals of Urban Design Studio studied and developed design proposals in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of Philadelphia. This project considered challenges between conflicting land uses and population needs while illuminating future redevelopment opportunities along an industrial waterfront. Grays Ferry is home to many industrial uses including warehouses, utility operations, and special purpose sites, which are often in tension with the neighborhood’s rowhomes and community amenities. Grays Ferry is a historically African American neighborhood and faces higher poverty rates than many other Philadelphia communities. Although recent investments have improved amenities in Grays Ferry, residents continue to face a lack of walkable and community-oriented opportunities. To better understand these dynamics, students investigated an existing commercial shopping center located north of Grays Ferry Avenue. The site included Grays Ferry’s Fresh Grocer, a collection of smaller businesses, and a substantially sized parking lot. This location was particularly unique in its proximity to the Schuylkill River, a CSX freight rail, and the City’s proposed Christian to Crescent walking trail. Within this site, students were challenged to create a new mixed-use development that would

maintain the Fresh Grocer as a neighborhood center. Simultaneously, student proposals were tasked with offering new residential, commercial, office, and recreational amenities that would engage the Grays Ferry neighborhood and future visitors using the Christian to Crescent trail. This planning concept seeks to redevelop the site into a catalytic, mixed-use space that will serve as an armature between pedestrians along the Schuylkill River and residents within Grays Ferry. Bringing this vision to life, the proposal includes new commercial and office spaces and 490 housing units to accommodate roughly 1,000 residents. The proposed site area of 854,891 square feet has a relatively low floor area ratio of 1.18 to better integrate with the surrounding lower density residential homes. This design places a distinct emphasis on the development of unique, inviting public spaces, including a boat dock at the waterfront and a series of open spaces serving as a pedestrian network. This pedestrian network and dock are designed to seamlessly connect with the proposed Christian to Crescent trail. This project drew inspiration from the successful revitalization of industrial spaces and waterfront connections occurring at Philadelphia’s Race Street Pier.

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Figure 3: Site function and massing diagrams.

Figure 4: Planning and regional design concept.

Figure 5: Primary street section within proposed site.



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Mary Eveleigh is a first-year Master of City Planning student specializing in Urban Design. Prior to attending Penn, Mary served with the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning in Fairfax, VA, and Smart Growth America in Washington, D.C. In these roles she worked directly with local communities on planning, development review, and advocacy projects. Mary first became passionate about cities while studying the intersection of health and urban gardens as a Bachelor of Science in Public Health candidate at Tulane University. Yuqi Song is a first-year Master of City Planning student specializing in Urban Design. Yuqi studied Urban Planning in Tianjin University, China, for five years. She has a strong curiosity about unknown areas and hopes to learn more about them. She enjoys sketching and painting and recently began making videos in her spare time.

Figure 6: Axonometric model illustrating the proposed waterfront connection.

Figure 7: Pedestrian street section within the proposed site.

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hether or not redlining practices caused segregation in cities or simply mapped the effects of discriminatory mortgage lending is up for debate, but what is clear is that for many U.S. cities, shadows of Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) maps are still present today. Residential security maps shaded red areas considered risky for investment, denying access to capital and economic opportunity, often for neighborhoods of color. Systematic disinvestment in these D-rated neighborhoods, in many cases, caused long-term damage, the effects of which are still seen today. While St. Louis is consistently ranked one of the most segregated cities in the country, races are not divided by these historic shades of blue and red, but rather are split by a single invisible barrier: the Delmar Divide. The Delmar Divide refers to Delmar Boulevard, a major east-west thoroughfare in the city. The St. Louis HOLC map was drawn in 1934, though racial segregation was perpetuated not by these boundaries, but rather by racial deed covenants and urban renewal practices. The Ville, a neighborhood north of Delmar, became the main Black middle-class neighborhood. As areas south of Delmar (such as Mill Creek Valley in 1954) were redeveloped, displaced residents moved to The Ville and surrounding neighborhoods. St. Louis increased its amount of public housing in the northern part of the city, exacerbating racial divides. Architecture was consistently used as a barrier, either through neglected properties being deemed as blighted or through eminent domain. Regardless of methods used, today, north of Delmar the population is 98 percent Black, while south of Delmar it is 73 percent White. The Delmar Divide indicates more than just racial segregation, though. This boundary separates the haves and the have-nots. Median household


incomes reflect similar contrasts in St. Louis. Household income for Black residents in St. Louis is under $24,000, while income for White residents is more than double at $52,000. It’s no surprise then that households above the Delmar Divide are much more likely to experience rent burden, spending more than 30 percent of their income on monthly housing costs. Black residents are 2.5 times more likely to live below the poverty line and almost 4.5 times more likely to be unemployed. The prosperity seen in the southern half of St. Louis is not shared north of the Delmar. While deeply segregated, the disparity in prosperity in St. Louis is the result of development patterns and racial deed covenants rather than the 1934 HOLC map. The only remnants of those residential security ratings are in homeownership rates. In areas previously redlined, homeownership remains low at less than 30 percent, while the areas shaded more favorably for investment see much higher rates of homeownership. The effects of Home Owners’ Loan Corporation can still be seen in present-day St. Louis, if only through this lens of homeownership. When analyzing racial divides, income disparity, and economic mobility, segregation in St. Louis is determined entirely by the Delmar Divide. While segregation in some cities may be influenced by or reflected in HOLC maps, these maps don’t necessarily match present-day patterns. When exploring spatial segregation in cities, it’s imperative that planners understand the many levels of structural violence – racial covenants, urban renewal, and other policies – that further contributed to or altered these patterns. Lab, D. (2019). Mapping Inequality. [online] Dsl.richmond. edu. Available at: [Accessed Sep. 2018]. All maps by Tiffany Hudson, 2018.


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Figure 1: Mapping racial segregation by Census block group in St. Louis with data from the 2016 5-year ACS. 0-14%





Figure 3: Gross rent as a percentage of household income in the past 12 months. <25%



No data

Figure 2: Median household income. $9,900$20,200




Figure 4: Owner-occupied housing units as a percentage of households in Census block group. 1-16%




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Figure 1: Over-the-Rhine from above shows the collection of 19th century Italianate architecture the historic neighborhood is known for.

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he Over-the-Rhine neighborhood immediately north of Cincinnati’s Central Business District is a 360-acre historic district that is currently the largest contiguous urban historic district in the United States (a title only rivaled by Savannah, Georgia).1 Remaining largely intact, the neighborhood hosts the nation’s largest collection of Italianate architecture. Constructed mostly by German immigrants, the neighborhood was built to support the Paris of America, named for its culture and architecture. By the middle of the 19th century, Over-the-Rhine was the most densely populated neighborhood in the nation, even more so than Manhattan.2 The remnants of Cincinnati’s most prosperous era are still prevalent today. The building stock remains around 70 percent intact despite decades of neglect and a dearth of redevelopment prospects.3 In the past 40 years, the City has recognized the threat of several failed waves of development and has moved to preserve the historic assets on a neighborhood scale. In 1985, the city completed the Over-theRhine Urban Renewal Plan in response to the city’s intensified outmigration crisis.4 The plan was the result of a need for restructuring and attracting residents back to the urban core. Not unlike many other urban renewal plans of the time, the Over-the-Rhine Plan was a largely failed attempt of revitalization through total redevelopment, designating large swaths of the historic district as blighted. The district was built at a fine-grained scale around the pedestrian, whereas planners of the late 20th century were tasked with retooling cities around the car. The emergence of the car made the historic district unfashionable and incompatible

with modern life. The very economic vacuum that sent Cincinnati into a decades-long era of recession was perhaps the saving grace for the Over-theRhine district. The disinvestment and neglect that the neighborhood would experience for the next 30 years thwarted several waves of hopeful urban redevelopment plans that called for the raising of large swaths of the neighborhood. One such wave attempted to capitalize on a national economic boom in the early- to mid-1990s. Fears of redevelopment and gentrification led to the emergence of a prominent activist named Buddy Gray. Gray’s legacy is heavily debated to this day as the effects of his activism are still felt. Gray led a movement to retain affordable and subsidized housing in the neighborhood that gained tremendous traction in obstructing plans for redevelopment in a neighborhood already stricken with concentrated poverty. As a result of the mounting political pressure, the city adopted a coordinated plan in 1984 that designated the majority of the neighborhood for exclusively low-income and subsidized housing with little to no room for market rate residences and businesses.5 While Gray’s intentions were undoubtedly humane, it was his misunderstanding of urban economics that led the neighborhood down a path of further economic depression and lack of opportunity. Academics have largely agreed that such a fervent rebuke of all redevelopment in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood kept its residents economically vulnerable and without access to opportunity; Gray’s efforts to organize and defend an impoverished community ultimately backfired. Instead, he left a community highly vulnerable to gentrification. The emphasis on growing the Section


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Figure 2: Blighted buildings in Over-the-Rhine in the to-be-redeveloped area of 14th and Vine Streets. April 2009.

8 options in the neighborhood created opportunities for absentee landlords and reduced opportunities for homeownership, hence blocking access to the intergenerational wealth-accumulation through homeownership that has since been identified as a paramount cause of the racial wealth gap that exists in the United States. The lack of income mixing thwarted economic opportunity and investment in the neighborhood, which prevented residents who did own property from growing their equity. Another part of Gray’s legacy was the amendment of the 1993 ordinance that officially delineated Over-the-Rhine Historic District for the first time in legal terms, outlining legal recourse for enforcing building preservation and marking the end of the urban renewal era in the district.6 For the next decade the district was to sit largely untouched by development despite an attempt for revitalization around the city’s public market, Findlay Market. Racial disparities in Cincinnati, which persist to this day, came to a head in 2001 with the nation’s largest race riots since the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Though the riots ultimately affected positive change in the city’s policing practices, they also scared off investment for the next decade. In the five years following the riots, emergency demolitions conducted by the city eliminated 50 historic buildings in Over-theRhine that were at risk of collapse due to vacancy and neglect. The alarming rate of demolition put


Over-the-Rhine on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2006 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.7 During this period of time, the newly formed Cincinnati City Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) began leveraging capital from Cincinnati New Markets Funds and Cincinnati Equity Funds to acquire vacant properties in the district from the county’s delinquent tax forfeitures. Though 3CDC has not disclosed how many properties they acquired in Over-the-Rhine, county auditor data suggest that 3CDC’s holdings were at one point some of the largest property owners in the district. Since its founding, 3CDC has overseen the massive redevelopment of the neighborhood that, today, has left few buildings untouched.

DISPL ACEMENT VULNERABILIT Y The very policy and market forces that enabled the recent redevelopment of the historic district have also left many of its long-time residents vulnerable to displacement, a vulnerability that has in recent years played out in a significant wave of displacement. It should first be established that, contrary to the beliefs professed by Buddy Gray, development and investment in a neighborhood do not necessarily end in the displacement of those residents if a proper planning process equally representing the interests of all residents is paired with an upswing in the citywide economy. Such success stories in which


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27 29





Public Housing Project Based Section 8



43 29





762 723






Other Multifamily Programs Housing Choice Vouchers Residential Renovation Permits

























2013 2014 Year





0 2009

Figure 3: Over-the-Rhine lost subsidized housing units while residential renovation soared.

vulnerable residents are retained through a wave of redevelopment are becoming more common, however they probably are not yet the prevailing outcome. The displacement of many Over-the-Rhine residents has been the result of decades of mounting vulnerability. The white flight to the suburbs in the 1950s to 1970s created a social and economic vacuum in the neighborhood that deprived those who did not have the means (economic and racial) to participate in suburban prosperity. This migration also deprived the remaining residents of the robust local economy that supported neighborhood business and investment, which followed the development to the suburbs. This began nearly half a century of economic deprivation of many American inner-city communities, while suburban residents saw unprecedented growth in intergenerational wealth through homeownership equity. In response to the nationwide inner-city vacuum, in 1974 Congress amended the 1937 U.S. Housing Act with the Housing and Community Development Act, which created the Section 8 program.8 In 1981

Congress passed additional amendments to the Housing and Community Development Act, seeking to address criticisms of the Section 8 program by transferring lease termination power to individual state laws, hence eliminating public housing authority review of lease termination.9 In most states, including Ohio, landlords are granted the ability to terminate Section 8 leases under the same terms as market-rate leases, which include plans for property sale or redevelopment. The housing voucher program under Section 8 was created in 1983 in an attempt to allow housing choice and reduce administrative burden on housing authorities.10 Section 8, along with market forces, fueled the emergence of Gray’s Over-the-Rhine Peoples’ Movement. The movement’s effects were heavily reflected in the city’s 1984 Comprehensive Plan, which re-designated much of Over-the-Rhine for low-income and subsidized housing without a thoughtful incorporation of other income groups or commercial opportunities. The neighborhood — caught in the social, political, and economic tides — sat largely stagnant through the 1990s. These


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destabilizing forces in the neighborhood led to its naming as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country for much of the late 1990s through early 2000s. Those who were able to access real estate capital saw their values plummet and many building owners became tax delinquent. In some cases, the unpaid tax ledger had become higher than the property’s market value. As a result of the 2008 recession, huge swaths of the neighborhood were foreclosed and forfeited to Hamilton County. Many of those properties were ultimately acquired for next to nothing by the 3CDC and have since been on a steady course of redevelopment. The redevelopment has been almost entirely market-rate since many of the properties were either vacant or had previously been Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher properties unprotected by any affordable unit replacement requirements. Since Ohio state law does not protect Housing Choice Vouchers from lease termination due to property sale, Over-the-Rhine saw a pattern of displacement as properties were put on the market at the newly inflated values. As seen in Figure 3, the overall number of Housing Choice Vouchers in Over-the-Rhine fell dramatically while residential renovation permits soared. This chart also illustrates the city’s lack of inclusionary planning as the overall number of HUD-assisted housing units also fell over the same period of real estate boom. The evidence suggests that many of the residents who were forced out of the neighborhood were displaced to housing projects further outside of the city center and hence further from job centers, grocery stores, healthcare, and public services. The lack of inclusionary planning in Cincinnati continues to concentrate poverty and isolate vulnerable populations from economic opportunity. Recent research from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that such hyper-concentrated poverty is the single largest barrier to economic mobility.11

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES Though some developers in Over-the-Rhine have been successful at leveraging federal incentives for redevelopment, the bulk of the redevelopment has been privately financed. This means that the redevelopment is inherently market-rate and generally needs to draw high rents to get long-term take-out financing on properties that banks had long considered risky investments. The lack of mixedfinancing mechanisms has been a huge driver behind the markedly increasing rents and lack of affordable options in the neighborhood in recent years. The State Historic Preservation Office in 2017 had a budget of $27 million in historic tax credits to distribute. In the same year, redevelopment projects drew a citywide total of only $800,000.12 This low number certainly does not reflect the city’s enormous historic building stock and the wave of redevelopment that is occurring in the market. Another huge missed opportunity is in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), which could be leveraged as gap financing for building


renovations in Over-the-Rhine that would include affordable housing options in the neighborhood to retain existing residents. In 2017, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded $26.5 million in LIHTC statewide, of which Cincinnati only drew $1 million citywide.13 This is surprising because Cincinnati’s poverty rate is among the highest in the state at 27 percent, and the poverty rate in Over-the-Rhine prior to the wave of redevelopment was among the highest in the nation. Comparatively, Columbus, which has a poverty rate of 21 percent, drew over $6 million in LIHTC financing in 2017. The allocation of resources is likely due to the lack of qualified applications for the tax credits, and less likely due to allocation bias, although allocation bias might exist.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS To help combat the massive displacement that is occurring in Over-the-Rhine, it is recommended that City Council adopt an affordable and subsidized housing replacement provision. Such a provision would require that a percentage of existing affordable and subsidized units be replaced in any redevelopment project and would require on-site unit replacement, as opposed to the off-site replacement that is currently popular among Cincinnati developers. The current trend toward off-site subsidized unit replacement has displaced vulnerable populations and relocated them in other neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, thus continuing to concentrate and isolate disadvantaged populations, exasperating the symptoms and systemic causes of poverty. Such a requirement would not necessarily stifle development if backed by guidance on how to leverage mixed project financing such as project-based Section 8 vouchers, Rental Assistance Demonstration program grants, and LIHTC. Such programs would help to secure affordable housing, prevent displacement, as well as reduce the developers’ need for private gap financing. On a state level, it is recommended that the State Historic Preservation Office adhere to a pointbased competitive application rubric that prioritizes projects that are also awarded LIHTCs, ensuring a more efficient and effective allocation of those credits. Additionally, it is recommended that the Ohio Housing Finance Agency enact a competitive project prioritization rubric that gives priority to proposals that are in economically vulnerable neighborhoods undergoing high rates of redevelopment. The scoring rubric should also include points for projects that incorporate project-based Section 8 units or Rental Assistance Demonstration program.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott is in his second year of the Master of City Planning program, with a concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning. He has an acute interest in forging big data tools for municipal governments to run more efficiently and effectively, an interest he developed while working in the architecture and construction field in Cincinnati prior to coming to Penn. As the climate changes, wealth stratifies, and population surges, the need for healthy and equitable cities has never been greater.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 “Revitalizing Neighborhoods: Over-the-Rhine.” Metro Jacksonville, June, 2012. 2 Woodard, Colin, et al. “How Cincinnati Salvaged the Nation’s Most Dangerous Neighborhood.” POLITICO, June, 2016. www.

Figure 1: Photo by Justin Kohl. Figure 2: Photo by Wholtone. Wikimedia Commons. April 2009. Figure 3: Chart by Scott Betz.

3 Historic Preservation. Over-The-Rhine Foundation. 4 Cincinnati Coordinated City Plan. City of Cincinnati. 1984. 5 Over-the-Rhine Urban Renewal Plan. City of Cincinnati. 1985. 6 Over-the-Rhine South Historic District Delineation. City of Cincinnati. 1993. 7 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places—Past Listings. National Trust for Historic Preservation. https://savingplaces. org/11most-past-listings#.XCKGLi2ZN24. 8 Hoisendolph, Ernest. 1974 Housing Act Helping Few of the Nation’s Poor. The New York Times, November, 1975, www.nytimes. com/1975/11/02/archives/1974-housing-act-helping-few-of-the-nations-poor-housing-act-of.html. 9 S.1197 - 97th Congress (1981-1982): Housing and Community Development Amendments of 1981., June, 1981, 10 42 U.S. Code 1437f - Low-Income Housing Assistance. Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, edu/uscode/text/42/1437f. 11 Chetty, Raj, John Friedman, Nathaniel Hendren, Maggie R. Jones, and Sonya Porter. “The Opportunity Atlas: Mapping the Childhood Roots of Social Mobility.” US Census Bureau, September, 2018. pdf. 12 19 Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Recipients, December, 2017. Ohio State Historic Preservation Office. https://development. Rehabilitation%20Project%20Receive%20State%20Support.pdf. 13 2017 Audited Financial Statements. Ohio Housing Finance Agency, November, 2017.


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Figure 1: An aerial view of Astana looking west.

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he ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 birthed a new geopolitical landscape. One of the fledgling post-Soviet countries was the Republic of Kazakhstan. Landlocked in central Asia, Kazakhstan abruptly needed to legitimize its systems of government and upgrade its infrastructure. One major decision made by President Nursultan Äbishuly Nazarbayev and the Government of Kazakhstan in 1994 was to relocate the capital from the border city of Almaty to the central city of Akmola, which happened in 1997. Reasoning behind this change included Akmola’s central location for access to the rest of Asia/Kazakhstan and increased national security removing the capital from the border.1 Akmola was subsequently renamed Astana (Kazakh for “capital city”) in 1998. Astana provides a unique study opportunity of a master plan’s implementation transforming a city from its former 20th Century Soviet Union status to a 21st Century capital of an aspiring international power. Studying this plan is an opportunity to examine the results of a top-down, central plan implemented by a unitary national government in a post-modern, Western social context. Additional takeaways from this study include new city layout concepts and the practicality of implementing design plans. Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa won the state-sponsored design competition created by President Nazarbayev and the Government of Kazakhstan for international architects and planners to upgrade existing Akmola to the national capital, Astana. Kurokawa’s design promoted concepts of harmony between the developing city and surrounding natural environment

while spurning traditional radial city structures for a more linear corridor, along which all necessary amenities would be offered.2,3 The Astana Master Plan layout was conceived by a foreigner and implemented by a wealthy, authoritarian government, combining master planning with one of the strongest planning environments. President Nazarbayev and the Kazakh government officially adopted Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan in 2001. The Plan originally anticipated Astana reaching 1 million people around 2030 (a summer 2018 news article estimated Astana’s population at approximately 900,000 people).4,5 This article focuses on Kisho Kurokawa’s 2001 Astana Master Plan original concepts, its development process, and its implementation.

PL ANNING CONTEXT The Kazakh government implemented its first master plan iteration in 1994 to transform existing Akmola into the new Astana.6 This initial plan placed a high priority on shorter-term goals, using a 2005 time frame as the city needed immediate improvements to serve as national capital.7 It focused on central developments for government functions and upgrading infrastructure such as heat, gas, electric utilities, and rail connections.8 In 1998, President Nazarbayev and the national government held an international competition to create a revised Master Plan, placing an increased emphasis on Astana’s city center and making the city a convergence point of influential architectural ideas.9 Japanese architect Kiro Kurokawa’s concept was selected in late 1998.10

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Figure 2: Kurokawa’s plan for Astana, looking north.

The primary reason to produce a fresh master plan was driven by the desire to “create a new type of city of the 21st Century as a way to promote Kazakhstan as a new independent country worldwide,” or putting Astana on the global map.11 After being granted the award, Kurokawa led a collaborative effort between the Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), the Capital Development Corporation, and the City of Astana to study and produce a master plan document for Astana’s development through 2030. The plan was ultimately approved in 2001.12 Kurokawa proposed a series of phases to make his Astana vision implementable. Working with local architects, the master plan was meant to be executed in two stages. The first stage focused on preparing city infrastructure and main facilities (housing, the airport, and business district).13 The second stage welcomed private investment and allowed it to fill in Astana’s urban area.14 An important part of Kurokawa’s winning concept was the proposal of the Master System. 15 Kurokawa used this to emphasize the importance of unknown possibilities resulting from rapid growth. He proposed that the plan and its components be reviewed every 5 years to ensure master plan concepts continued to meet the needs of Astana’s growing population.16 The onus for deciding when to implement, change, or diverge from the master


plan fell on President Nazarbayev and the Kazakh government. There are two ways to view how Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan was indicative of local planning culture. In one sense, the Astana Master Plan says nothing about Kazakh planning culture: its core concept comes from a Japanese architect. In a second sense, Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan says everything about Kazakh planning culture: what the government wants, the government will have. Kurokawa’s Master Plan provided a new concept of city layout and growth but depended on Kazakh planners, architects, and government officials for implementation.

PL AN FORMAT & SUMMARY In the words of the city government website, the competition was called “regarding the conceptual design of the Master Plan…meeting the latest achievements of modern architectural ideas”[29].17 A design plan made the most sense considering Kurokawa’s successful bid focused on the “conceptual design of the Master Plan”.18 Kurokawa’s proposed layout of new government and business districts south of the Ishim River and existing Akmola appealed to the judges (architects) and Kazakh government. The plan provided a logical use for existing open land to allow “spacious and well-designed super blocks appropriate for the new capital.”19 Nearly all


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Figure 3: Planned zones for Astana.

architectural wonders appearing in articles about Astana today are located in Kurokawa’s “Business City.” Kurokawa’s winning master plan concept involved three conceptual features that diverged from traditional planning theory. The three cornerstone concepts were the proposal of Astana as a Metabolic City, proposal of the Master System, and proposal of the Symbiotic City.20 In calling the first plan feature a Metabolic City, Kurokawa was referencing Astana’s capability to adapt to the rapid change that might occur from sudden new development and population growth. The Metabolic City proposed reimagining the city’s structure and zoning patterns. For Astana, this meant proposing a Linear Zoning System.21 The Linear Zoning System would not rely on certain services confined within distinct city districts. Kurokawa envisioned every key function of the city being present as necessary throughout urban expansion, where the routing point would be a central axis park extending northward from the Ishim River through the existing city.22 The second key feature is the Master System, where Kurokawa strayed from the traditional concept of a design plan. Traditional design plans tend to present a city’s fully realized form and

serve as precise blueprints to be followed by future implementing agencies. Instead, Kurokawa leaves space for Astana to adapt to 21st Century uncertainty. Kurokawa’s Master System “proposes a new system that analyzes and reviews the situation every five years and modifies the plan in a flexible way.”23 The third key feature of Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan was a proposal of the Symbiotic City. Kurokawa’s Symbiotic City focused on maintaining existing land purposes from Akmola on the northwest side of the Ishim River, while providing space for development by businesses and newly essential government centers on the southeast side. In the JICA Master Plan report, Kurokawa explicitly mentions strengthening and tying together the existing business district previously established by a Saudi Arabian group.24 The new business area on the south-east bank of the river would connect to the existing central axis park through the city center on the north bank by a landscaped forest/open space.25 This central axis was meant to promote “symbiosis” of the city by connecting it to nature.26 The new jump would enable Astana to repurpose the Ishim River from barrier to central feature.27 The “symbiotic” city was also meant to give Astana “the sense that the city’s past and future will be consolidated in harmony.” 28

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Figure 4: Astana today.

Kurokawa emphasized enhancement of green spaces within the proposed layout.29 In addition to the park layout connecting the existing city axis to the new business district and government centers, Kurokawa proposed a “belt of greenery” around Astana.30 The city is in a semi-arid steppe and is susceptible to the effects of high winds (dust storms in summer or cold gusts in winter).31 The proposed green belt aimed to provide a natural barrier and further tie the city into its surroundings.

PL ANNING PROCESS The Astana Master Plan planning process can be organized into two periods. The first was the conceptual design competition that culminated in selection of Kurokawa’s design concept for further development. The second was the joint venture process between JICA, the Capital Development Corporation, and the City of Astana. The first period was contingent on President Nazarbayev and the Kazakh government deciding they wanted a capital city that sent an international message of power and opportunity. Creating a brand new capital could also be perceived as President Nazarbayev putting forth a portrayal of national dominance while consolidating power. While the first period was open to an array of “architects and city planners of national renown,” exact criteria


on how 50 invitees were selected is unknown.32 The second period involved the joint venture study collaboration between JICA (headed by Kurokawa), the Capital Development Corporation, and the City of Astana. This second period provided important details building on Kurokawa’s conceptual design proposal, generating a fully developed Astana Master Plan in 2001.33 The second period in which all groups collaborated resulted in a division of upkeep and capital development responsibilities. The Kazakh national government was granted responsibility over all republic, city, and private facilities located within District 13, corresponding with the Government City portion of the City Center proposed by Kurokawa as new development south-east of the Ishim River.34,35 This Government City section of the proposed master plan contains most of the Business City.36 In the words of the planning study report, “if the existing city center pertains to the city and the nation’s past and present, the new city center will symbolize its future and dreams”.37 Most noteworthy architectural development of Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan falls within District 13.


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Figure 4: Astana’s Expo City.

ASSESSMENT Context is important when judging Kurokawa’s original Astana Master Plan. When assessing the Plan, there are two perspectives: that of the national government and that of the citizens. This paper judges the Astana Master Plan from the viewpoint of its commissioning group: the national Government of Kazakhstan. In this light, Kurokawa’s Master Plan has been a success. The planning process for Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan resulted in separation of development responsibilities for sections of Astana between local and national authorities. Under the 2001 Master Plan, the Kazakh national government had full autonomy to develop and maintain all property within District 13.38 The Kazakh government and President Nazarbayev have taken advantage of this authority by sanctioning architectural feats. Astana has been gaining global recognition for its collection of surreal architecture. A brief CNN article from 2012 described new buildings rising from the plain as “mirage-like.”39 These projects would not have been possible without the zoning and authority provided to the Kazakh national government in District 13. Local autonomy for the national government traces back to a root of the follow-up International Master Plan: to “create

a new type of city of the 21st Century as a way to promote Kazakhstan as a new independent country worldwide.”40 Based on international response, the Astana Master Plan has succeeded. An unstated purpose behind the Astana Master Plan and international call for designs was the need for President Nazarbayev to consolidate his power. Nazarbayev has been Kazakhstan’s head since 1989 and the president is acknowledged as a political strongman.41 Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan can also be considered a success in this light as the concept was primarily intended to serve the interests of the president and Kazakh state before the interests of Astana’s citizens. The findings and recommendations of the Kurokawa Astana Master Plan were implementable in a new capital with a powerful national government. The Astana Master Plan illustrates the ability of centralized unitary power and natural gas/ oil money to achieve visions. Recent evidence of this claim is construction of the Kazakhstan Pavilion in 2017. Similar in appearance to the Death Star and constructed for $5 billion, it’s no wonder the city’s appearance led a 2015 Guardian article to state: “One look at Astana and you can see where much of the [oil] money has gone.”42, 43

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Figure 5: Astana West.

LESSONS & CONCLUSIONS The Astana Master Plan reveals that great architectural and planning accomplishments are possible when the planning environment remains under consistent political control and the client maintains enormous sums of money for implementation. At the beginning, I stated that one of the best reasons to examine this Astana Master Plan was “an opportunity to explore what results occur from a top-down, central plan implemented by a unitary national government”. What results when a central unitary government strongly supports a master plan? Whatever the central unitary government wants. There are a finite number of cultures and political climates where the Astana Master Plan model would be feasible if it were desirable. Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan appears to have been used to prioritize national pride over local development. There are leaders abroad who would love the leeway President Nazarbayev first found when he chose to relocate from Almaty to Astana, but circumstances surrounding the adoption and implementation of Kurokawa’s Astana Master Plan are likely a rare moment in history. Outside of Central Asia, conditions for a similar planning process to occur may not be seen again.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen M. Dillon is pursuing a Masters of City Planning degree with a concentration in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. He has not been to Astana (yet). His study interests include community involvement in the planning process and refurbishing/upgrading transportation infrastructure. Great at parties.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Study on the Master Plan for the Development of the City of Astana in the Republic of Kazakhstan. By Kisho Kurokawa Architect and Associates et al., Final Report no. 22, June 2001. JICA Report PDF, html. Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. pg S-7.

29 JICA, pg S-16.

2 Whyte, Andy, editor. Kisho Kurokawa, Architect and Associates: Selected and Current Works. Images Publishing Group, 2000, pg 216.

33 Mayor’s Office of Astana.

3 Whyte, pg 216. 4 Ibid. 5 Abadi, Mark. “Inside Astana, Kazakhstan’s Futuristic Planned Capital.” Business Insider, Insider, 16 June 2018, https://read. bi/2MpY5C7. Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. 6 “General Plan.” Mayor’s Office of Astana, Social Development Agency of the City of Astana, 2018, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. 6 “General Plan.” Mayor’s Office of Astana, Social Development Agency of the City of Astana, 2018, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. 7 Mayor’s Office of Astana. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid 10 Whyte, pg 216. 11 Ibid.

30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 Whyte, pg 216. 34 JICA, pg S-39. 35 JICA, pg S-17. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid. 38 JICA, pg S-39. 39 Carrington, Daisy. “Astana: The World’s Weirdest Capital City.” CNN, 13 July 2012, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. 40 Whyte, pg 216. 41 Sharkov, Damien. “Who Are the Strongmen Leaders of Central Asia?” Newsweek, 13 Sept. 2016, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. 42 Palmer, James. “Kazakhstan Spent $5 Billion on a Death Star and It Doesn’t Even Shoot Lasers.” Foreign Policy, Slate Group, 15 June 2017, Accessed 19 Dec. 2018. 43 Fraser, Giles, and Marina Kim. “Welcome to Astana, Kazakhstan: One of the Strangest Capital Cities on Earth.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 28 July 2015. Accessed 19 Dec. 2018.

12 Mayor’s Office of Astana. 13 Whyte, pg 216.

Figure 1:

14 Ibid. 15 Ibid.

Figure 2: Whyte, Andy, editor. Kisho Kurokawa, Architect and Associates: Selected and Current Works. Images Publishing Group, 2000, pg 217.

16 Ibid.

Figure 3: Ibid.

17 Mayor’s Office of Astana.

Figure 4: Google Earth, accessed 2/17/19.

18 Ibid.

Figure 5:

19 JICA, pg S-16. 20 Whyte, pg 216. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 JICA, pg S-15. 25 Whyte, pg 216. 26 JICA, pg S-13. 27 Ibid. 28 JICA, pg S-12.

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Instructors: Greg Krykewycz and Marco Gorini, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Additional Support: Erick Guerra, Assistant Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning Students: Yue Guo Huiling He Heike Jacob Jessica Klion Anqi Li Lufeng Lin Kefan Long Rongzhi Mai Ian Schwarzenberg Jonathan Yuan

The Three-Year Action Plan introduced the High Injury Network - a selection of roads in the city where 50 percent of traffic deaths and serious injuries occur. This network represents only 12 percent of the city’s streets and helps the city prioritize where projects could have the greatest impact. Our analysis of the High Injury Network found that crashes resulting in death or serious injury are most prevalent in areas with greater proportions of disadvantaged populations.

N 108

High Injury Network 0



4 Miles


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Rendering of LED-equipped raised pavement markers (RPMs). Installation of RPMs is recommended by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a low-cost, innovative intersection safety treatment in low-visibility areas. Our analysis found that approximately half of serious crashes occurred at dawn, dusk, or nighttime.


n Philadelphia, approximately 100 people die in car crashes every year, but these crashes are avoidable and these deaths are needless. This is the premise of Vision Zero, a global movement which began in Sweden in the late 1990s and advocates for eliminating traffic deaths on our roads. The City of Philadelphia adopted Vision Zero through an executive order from Mayor Kenney in 2016, and subsequently released its Three-Year Action Plan in September 2017. In the year since the release of the Three-Year Action Plan, the City of Philadelphia has made great strides towards meeting its goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2030. Even so, Philadelphia still has one of the highest rates of traffic deaths per capita of any of its peer cities.

The Vision Zero Toolbox: People-Driven Strategies for Safer Philadelphia Streets is intended to help decision makers at the local level prioritize the types of initiatives and projects that will achieve the greatest traffic safety benefit and ensure the success of Vision Zero Philadelphia. To this end, the toolbox aims to identify the most pressing traffic safety challenges facing the city through the use of robust, in-depth crash data analysis to answer five central questions: 1. Who is most impacted by crashes? 2. What driver behaviors contribute most to crashes? 3. Where are crashes most likely to occur? 4. When are crashes most likely to occur? 5. How can the city create a new culture of safety?

Rendering of a drop-off, pick-up lane at the Frederick Douglass Mastery School on West Norris Street in North Philadelphia. The creation of drop-off, pick-up lanes is a very low-cost strategy to protect school-aged pedestrians. Every day, four children are reported to be involved in traffic crashes.

Strategies to address each of the traffic safety challenges identified through this analysis are divided into short-term, low-cost; medium-term, moderatecost; and long-term, high-cost strategies, as one-sizefits-all solutions may not work for every community. Strategies are accompanied by cost estimates as well as crash reduction factors, or their estimated impact on safety. Through the implementation of these strategies, the City of Philadelphia will hopefully accelerate its progress towards Vision Zero, saving the lives of hundreds of Philadelphians in the process.

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Figure 1: Simple, pictorial signage for metro entrance in Mexico City. Pink is the color for line 1 and the bell is the icon for the station Insurgentes. The icon of the signage is accompanied by the system logo and an arrow indicating the entrance/exit of the station.

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isual communication is by no means a novelty to human civilizations. Examples of “[giving] visual form to ideas and concepts” are abundant in early human history: “Sumerian scribes who invented writing, Egyptian artisans who combined words and images on papyrus manuscripts, Chinese block printers, medieval illuminators...”1 Based on consistent empirical findings, it is well recognized in the field of psychology that pictures possess advantages over texts if a person were to learn and/or memorize both. This is the human cognitive pattern, known as the Picture Superiority Effect (PSE). Even though visual communications have rich historical precedents and are clinically proven to be more memorable when compared to texts, they are usually less acknowledged socially and politically in post-colonial spaces. This piece examines the role of Picture Superiority Effect in the development of graphic design and in its application to wayfinding.

THE COGNITIVE SUPERIORIT Y OF PICTURES IN WAYFINDING Wayfinding is essentially spatial problemsolving, and good wayfinding can make navigating through intermodal passenger facilities, like train stations, easy. Good wayfinding is mainly achieved by effective visual communication, and the way to foster effective visual communications is through good graphic design. Graphic arts are integral to explain the cognitive comparison between text and images.2 Given that

the dictionary’s definition of “graphics” is defined as “copies of an original design are printed from a plate, block, or the like,” the essence of graphic arts lies in both images and texts. Since the Industrial Revolution, with the lowering of printing costs and the emergence of mass communications, graphic arts evolved into graphic design, a field preoccupied with solving visual communication problems rather than producing individual artistry. One epistemological hypothesis that likens graphic design with social engineering points out the guiding use of images in everyday life, whose pervasiveness surpassed texts. 3 Numerous psychological studies on visual communication affirm PSE in various fields, such as in education and advertising.4 To explain how PSE functions, Allan Paivio’s theory of cognition proposes that there are two ways for an individual to supplement things that she has already learned: verbal associations or visual imageries. These two pathways to cognition, according to Paivio, “act as two distinctive systems” in human brains’ memory processing.5 Paivio’s Dual Coding Theory explains that the sight of a word produces a verbal label in an individual’s mind, whereas sighting an image very likely generates both a verbal label and an image label, reinforcing the memory of such an image. In other words, “visual and verbal information act as two distinctive systems” in human brains’ memory processing.6 Because the sight of a word receives a weaker stimulus for memory whereas an image very likely generates both a verbal label and an image label, reinforcing the memory of such an image brings more clues for the mind. Other pathways to cognition of

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text and image include a sensory-semantic model that focuses on the distinctiveness of pictures. The theory of D.L. Nelson argues that, instead of dual coding, human brains process pictures more extensively than words because of their numerous unique features compared to the alphabetic symbols used in plain texts. With its many details, the inherent characteristics of a picture gives advantage to its force on cognition, compared to letters and numbers.

THE RISE OF INFOGRAPHICS & COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN Those in charge of signage for major international events such as universal expositions and the Olympic Games since the mid-19th century understand the need for studying the way human brains process pictures and texts. Words alone, tethered to languages not everyone speaks, are not enough for the creation of a solid design system to guide tens of thousands of participants to navigate through and understand the many activities that simultaneously take place. The pictograms used for the Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany, serve as a good example for graphic design, revealing how each individual type of competition is denoted in simplified line drawings. The complexity of the grid allowed infinite amount of pictorial permutations; it is a design approach to avoid irregularity of hand-drawing. The diagonal multi-grid background indicates the basis for graphic designer Otl Aicher’s work, which encompassed a system of many other pictograms. With their captions much smaller in size at the bottom, these pictograms are clearly superior to the text in conveying international understanding and communication at the Munich Olympics. Aicher’s prioritization of images over texts in conveying information about the Games insinuates that, from a designer’s perspective, the features of pictorial design elements can produce a stronger cognition result than textual ones. The PSE theory explains the relatively higher degree of information exchange that occurs when viewers look at pictures compared to when readers view texts. This psychological phenomenon lies in its validation of the distinctive influences of image over text, but it does not account for nonpictorial symbolic shapes. Abraham M. Moles evaluates graphic design’s contemporary meaning and application, claiming that there is an extensive array of everyday life objects that can be recognized as graphics.7 “Arrows, shingles, posters, signals,” are signs, in conjunction with other materials, that mirror things and actions. By getting information not from objects themselves but from the signs that designate them, readers decode abstractions before moving into and utilizing reality. Thus, symbols inform direct experience prior to action.


Moles’ idealized framework of modern life has been used by governing agencies of societies to make and place various symbols (road signs, for example) to guide their citizens. Few would discount the importance of graphic symbols on road signs and public spaces in regulating the movements of people through public spaces. Referring to the symbolic landscapes in our lives as ideoscenarios, Moles establishes the importance of graphic designers, whom he viewed as “social engineers,” because their role is to create bridges that translate “the given of the world” to these ideoscenarios that then reach people in public spaces that Moles calls “the given.” If graphic designers are “social engineers,” then their tools – graphic images – are the signposts that citizens use to navigate public space. Moles’ point is that images become a potent tool linking “the symbolic aspect” with “the actional aspect” of the world. Although it is arguable that literary texts and other forms of written documentations can achieve the same function of connecting the symbolic with the real, images are significantly further-reaching and more memorable, and cognitively accessible. Another advantage of images implicated by Moles is that writing tends to be sequential, bounded into lines and paragraphs, whereas images can take on many diverse forms to convey meaning, all over “the surfaces, the contours, the volumes, the ups and downs, the borders, and the pages.”8 Therefore, most likely a part of Moles’ ideoscenarios, information conveyed through symbolic images offer more educational and wayfinding cognitive variables than texts. The Isotype movement brought infographics to the world because it explored how to optimally translate verbal and numerical data from research to graphics that are digestible to the public.9 During the 1920s, Dwiggins, a pioneer of his field, began using the term graphic designer to categorize his professional endeavor as a book designer.10 It was during the same decade that Otto Neurath started pushing for creating “a world language without words,” the use of elementary pictographs to convey information.11 Otto Neurath was inspired from a very young age how facts and ideas could be expressed through visualizations. WWI proved to be a huge influence on Neurath’s design thought process because of the explosion of complex data after the war. Clear communication was the focus of Neurath, who led the Isotype movement. Given their respective contributions to the field of graphic design, the chronological concurrence of their careers means that using pictographs to communicate meanings has been an essential purpose of the field.12 In other words, almost from the very moment graphic designers became aware of the nature of their work, it was established that pictorial symbols representing a word or a phrase were to be designed and this process of visualizing information were to emphasize functionality over decorativeness.


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Figure 3: At a station platform in the Mexico City metro system, wayfinding signage (top right) is usually simple and effective.

CASE STUDY: PICTORIAL ICONS FOR MEXICO CIT Y ME TRO STATIONS BY L ANCE WYMAN The signage for the Mexico City Metro designed by Lance Wyman possesses both functionality and decorativeness. Still in circulation today, these individualized icons for each station aggregated into an ideoscenario that brands the public transport system as a whole and serves the function of informing riders about locations so that they can efficiently use the Metro by deciphering the icons. The work of Lance Wyman is not distant from the Isotype advocates of infographics. His experience prior to designing Mexico City Metro’s signage involved devising comprehensive design for international expositions and the Olympics. Wyman is a graphic artist that understood the PSE and applied it in his design of intermodal passenger facilities. When Wyman, an industrial designer, arrived in Mexico City in 1966, there was no underground metro system in the capital of Mexico. He was there to enter a competition to do a comprehensive design for the Summer Olympics that would take place two years later. Wyman became primarily known for his colorful, op-art-influenced, pictorially-driven design for that sporting event, but he also laid out some monumental wayfinding

work for the Mexico City metro system that began operations a year after the Olympic Games. There are many outstanding qualities of the wayfinding system Wyman devised for the Mexico City, officially named Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC). The wayfinding system has been adapted for the city’s Bus Rapid Transit system as well.13 Designing for a brand-new underground system in an extremely populous city was a daunting task and the primary concern was twofold.14 Since STC was originally slated to open during the Olympics, Wyman needed to design not only for a population with a high percentage of illiteracy, but also for foreign visitors that do not comprehend Spanish.15 As a result, he turned to pictorial icons that did not require literacy of any actual language. Each line labeled by a number was assigned a color and each station received an icon. The station or symbol needed to be concrete enough in order to be described verbally, but at the same time could not be too concrete (like an actual image) that it loses simplicity and legibility from afar. The result Wyman came up with was ingenious. The station Chapultepec is named after the park nearby and the word in Nahuatl, an indigenous Mexican language, means “at the grasshopper hill.”16 Therefore, the icon was a grasshopper either resting or crawling. Another example is the Merced station,

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Figure 3: The icons Lance Wyman designed for the Mexico City metro system have concrete inspirations, such as a fountain or an aqueduct.

which serves a traditional public market named La Merced. For its icon, Wyman drew a case of apples representing the commerce and merchandise at the market.17

CONCLUSION Why are these such effective ways of helping users of the system find their way, at least theoretically? The reason is rooted in visual communications. Revisiting Moles’ hypothesis that graphic designers are “social engineers,” then their tools, graphic images, are the signposts that citizens use to navigate public space. These graphic images are a potent tool linking “the symbolic aspect” with “the actional aspect” of the world, an example of the symbolic, diagrammatic underground world of the metro system versus the actional, physical above-ground world of the urban form. In addition, numerous psychological studies on visual communication affirm the PSE. The inherent characteristics of a picture, gives advantage to its force on cognition, compared to letters and numbers. Therefore, Wyman’s use of icons was not only a clever way to bypass linguistic hurdles, but also a psychologically impactful strategy of wayfinding.


Ultimately, a good wayfinding system is a good ideoscenario; an ideoscenario reaches people in public places and translates “the given of the world” to simple navigational information. As the physical world evolves overtime, the ideoscenarios also evolve, but effective strategies to build a symbolic landscape can transfer one ideoscenario to another. Getting from point A to point B? It calls for a good wayfinding system that sophisticatedly applies visual languages.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kangjie “Zé” Liu is a longtime transplant to the northeast from China. He is passionate about public transit and wayfinding design. Having graduated from New York University with a liberal arts degree, he now enjoys learning more technical skills such as coding in R and mapping in ArcGIS through the City and Regional Planning Program. He is not sure whether art or advocacy is his true calling after he finishes the master’s degree, but he is certain that he wants to work locally to make urban living more enjoyable, equitable, mobile, and resilient.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Meggs, Philip B., and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. John Wiley & Sons, 2012. 2 “Graphic arts.” Def.1. Web. 16 April 2018.

Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3:

3 “The Rise of Infographics and Comprehensive Design”. 4 Carpenter, Shana K. and Kellie M Olson. “Are pictures good for learning new vocabulary in a foreign language? Only if you think they are not”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, vol. 38, 2011. doi:10.1037/a0024828. 5 Mintzer, Miriam Z., and Joan Gay Snodgrass. “The Picture Superiority Effect: Support for the Distinctiveness Model.” The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 112, no. 1, 1999, pp. 113–146. JSTOR, JSTOR, 6 Sadoski and Paivio. “1: A Unified Theory of Literacy.” 5. 7 Moles, Abraham A. “The Legibility of the World: A Project of Graphic Design.” Design Issues, vol. 3, no. 1, 1986, pp. 43–53. JSTOR, JSTOR, 8 Moles, “The Legibility of the World: A Project of Graphic Design.” 46. 9  Meggs. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design. 341. 10 Ibid, 192, 351. 11 Ibid, 341. 12 Ibid. 13 Russell, Edward. “Mexico City’s Metro map uses a different icon for each station. Ours almost did too.” “Transit”. Greater Greater Washington, 22 March 2017. 14 Shaughnessy, Adrian. Lance Wyman: The Monograph. Edited by Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy, Unit Editions, 2015. 15 Shaughnessy, Adrian. Lance Wyman: The Monograph. Edited by Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy, Unit Editions, 2015. 16 Definition from Collins Dictionary. 17 @MetroCDMX. “La imagen de #Merced es un guacal con manzanas como representación del mercado de la Merced inaugurado en 1880. [The image of Merced (station) is a crate with apples as a representation of the Merced market that opened in 1880].” Twitter, 20 April 2016, 4:00 p.m.

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Figure 1: A woman rides an electric scooter down the street, followed by a man on an electric bike.

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hared-use mobility has exploded in American cities since the early 2000s.1 Encouraged by advances in mobile technology, shared mobility options have fundamentally changed how people in cities travel and how shared urban space functions. Today’s menu of travel options include: car-sharing, ride-sharing, ride-sourcing, bike-sharing, and scooter-sharing. Often, technology companies bring in a new shared-use technology to a city and disrupt the modus operandi, causing confusion and frustration on urban streets. Despite regulatory challenges, these technologies also provide numerous advantages. They can increase accessibility and mobility for the public and help to solve transit’s first-mile/last-mile challenge. Even more so, new technologies are moving the needle, forcing cities and planners to think critically about the purpose and priorities of transportation systems. Recently, dockless bike-share systems in the United States have shifted to rentable, electric scooters. Companies like Bird, Lime, and others started offering services seemingly overnight in cities across the country, leaving municipalities in the uncomfortable position of regulating a technology that has already taken hold. Dockless scooters can be dropped off and picked up anywhere, but how does one ensure that vehicles are stored such that mobility for non-users is not inhibited? Further, do these vehicles belong in a bike lane, a motor vehicle lane, the sidewalk, or somewhere else entirely? This piece delves into these questions and others, focusing on the legal issues surrounding the recent infiltration of dockless scooters in urban areas.

Cities across the country have taken different approaches to regulating dockless scooters. Many cities served immediate cease and desist orders and sued the private scooter companies, others allowed them on a trial basis, while some banned the vehicles until they decided upon a regulatory framework. Through a case study of San Francisco’s experience regulating the use of dockless scooters, this analysis examines the legal options and challenges that cities face as new technology is thrust upon them.

OVERVIEW OF LEGAL CH ALLENGES There are two primary legal challenges that cities face in regulating dockless scooters: legal operation and nuisance. While the extent to which these challenges are problems for a given city is varied, they both come up consistently in the literature regarding dockless scooters. The challenges facing governments regarding dockless scooters are applicable at both state and local levels. This section provides details on these regulatory challenges, providing context for the San Francisco case study. In developing regulations and programs regarding dockless scooters, the first legal question governments must answer is: Is the operation of an electric scooter legal in the municipality? The legal standing of scooters in cities is varied, with few cities explicitly mentioning scooters in their vehicle codes. This notion of legality calls into question the safety of scooters, with regulations deeming certain uses allowable and safe with others unallowable and unsafe for the rider and public.

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Figure 2: Two scooter riders illegally sharing one vehicle on a sidewalk in Washington, D.C.

For example, in Washington, D.C., where there is a dockless scooter pilot program, electric scooters are legally considered personal mobility devices (PMD).2 These vehicles are defined by the city as “a motorized propulsion device designed to transport one person or a self-balancing, two non-tandem wheeled device, designed to transport only one person with an electric propulsion system.”3 PMDs are not motor vehicles and cannot be driven by anyone under the age of 16, but they are permitted on sidewalks and in bike lanes.4 Conversely, in New York, all scooters are banned. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles notes that personal motorized vehicles, defined as “a device with a motor attached and a handlebar for a standing rider,” cannot be registered or operated on any “street, highway, parking lot, sidewalk, or other area in New York State that allows public motor vehicle traffic.”5 The second question moves away from legality to the management of scooters and scooter programs in regards to nuisance and public nuisance. In broad legal terms, a nuisance is “the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful use of property, which causes inconvenience or damage to others, either to individuals and/or the general public.”6

As cities that already have shared scooters as well as cities with dockless bike-share systems can attest, managing the parking of vehicles is a major challenge, one that causes hazards for pedestrians and other road users. For example, when dockless bike-share came to San Francisco, the new technology created hazards for pedestrians and blocked ramps required for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Second is the question of usage. Before establishing a framework to regulate shared scooters, municipalities must regulate their use; that is, municipalities must legislate where scooters can be legally operated. Based on these regulations, improper use of scooters could be deemed a public nuisance. Despite the legality of an operation, there are certain instances where even legal operation could cause hazards to the public, thus becoming a nuisance. Riding electric scooters on the sidewalk could easily be described as a nuisance, especially when riders are flying down blocks, weaving through crowds. Addressing this nuisance and crafting a program that does not cause harm is a primary legal challenge of programs.

Scooter-shares can become a public nuisance in a variety of ways. First, is the question of parking— where and how should shared scooters be parked so that they do not create a hazard for the public?



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Figure 3: Bird scooters parked across the full width of a sidewalk, blocking the public right of way.

DOCKLESS SCOOTERS IN SAN FRANCISCO In March 2018, dockless scooters appeared on the streets of San Francisco.7 Owned by just a few companies, including Bird and Lime, these scooters infiltrated the city with little warning and without regard for existing law. This forced the city to scramble to update its legislation and regain control of the public sphere. These companies touted their products as a “safe, affordable, environmentallyfriendly transportation solution.”8 Conversely, city officials were concerned about the infiltration of the new technology without any regulatory processes in place. At the time of their arrival, California code covered scooters only minimally, with the scooters legal under certain conditions. Further, the city’s public works code specifies that there can be no obstruction of the public right of way, nor can obstructions pose a safety hazard.9 Almost immediately, the scooters caused problems and riders regularly ignored existing laws. Complaints about scooters were numerous. People drove them on the sidewalk without regard for pedestrian safety and left them scrawled across the pedestrian right of way, limiting pedestrian’s ability to use the only space available to them.10 Scooters were found in trash cans and thrown into bodies of water. Riders were often under 18 and people rode in pairs on single

scooters without helmets. In only a couple of months, the Office of the City Attorney received over 1,800 complaints from residents regarding scooter riders’ illegal use of the travel mode.11 After only a couple of weeks, city agencies sent letters to the scooter operating companies appealing to them to work with the city as they developed appropriate legislation to manage shared scooters. In letters sent in March of 2018, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and San Francisco Public Works noted several issues with the companies’ operations and requested a business plan from each company. The city’s position was stated plainly: “We will not tolerate any business model that results in obstruction of the public right of way or poses a safety hazard.”12 Further, the letter noted that as a business in San Francisco, the companies must be registered. On April 16, 2018, the Office of the City Attorney issued cease and desist orders, claiming that the companies operated “unpermitted scooter rental programs” that created a public nuisance. The letter further demanded that by April 30, 2018, the companies “provide a written report that [they have] taken immediate steps to address…unlawful business practices.” The cease and desist letters served as a formal notice for the companies that they needed to amended their practices as well as the practices of their customers. They also served as a stopgap measure to force scooter companies and their customers into CRUISING IN

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following the law, while city legislatures and agencies could formalize a scooter program.13 While the city attorney and others worked publicly to stop illegal use of scooters, legislatures also worked to better legislate the use of shared scooters. On May 4, 2018, the mayor of San Francisco approved an ordinance that amends the city’s transportation code. The ordinance took effect on June 4, 2018, and barred companies that operated dockless scooters in the city from parking vehicles on sidewalks or other public spaces without a permit. As a result, scooter companies were required to remove all vehicles until permits were issued.14 The ordinance also empowered SFMTA to develop the Powered Scooter Permit and Pilot Program, which established a year-long pilot program through which the agency may issue up to five permits. The program limits the total number of permitted scooters to 1,250 for the first six months, increasing that number to 2,500 for the second half of the year. The program will be funded through the recovery of a $5,000 application fee, $25,000 annual permit fee, and a $10,000 endowment per company to cover costs associated with property repair and maintenance.15 To be permitted, companies must demonstrate that they can minimize their impact on San Francisco’s sidewalks, while also providing transparency to the public. Companies are required to “provide user education, be insured, share trip data with the city, have a privacy policy that safeguards user information, offer a low-income plan, and submit a proposed service area plan for city approval.” Further, companies are required “to have a plan in place to address sidewalk riding and sidewalk parking … ”16 SFMTA received applications from 12 companies and awarded permits to two: Scoot and Skip on October 15, 2018.17 For SFMTA, Scoot and Skip’s applications “demonstrated not only a commitment to meet the terms of the permit, but a high level of capability to operating a safe, equitable, and accountable scooter-share service.”18 Notably, the companies who initially dropped scooters into the market place did not receive permits. This result was seemingly unexpected but perhaps a symptom of the City’s frustration with the companies in the lead up to the pilot program. For SFMTA, establishing a transparent pilot program and selecting companies to permit should have ended most questions regarding legal operations of dockless scooters. The program helped establish a framework to regulate the system; however, the saga of legal scooter operations in San Francisco did not end there. In September of 2018, Lime’s parent company requested a hearing and review of SFMTA’s decision to deny the company a permit, claiming the City failed to meet constitutional due process.19


Lime requested that their appeal “be set for hearing before an unbiased hearing officer, and request[ed] a decision finding Lime met all legal requirements for the issuance of a Pilot Program permit.”20 As an alternative, the company requested that “the hearing officer invalidate the Pilot Program application and evaluation process and order SFMTA to develop a process that meets all legal requirements.” Ultimately, Lime sued the city just a few days before the pilot program was slated to launch, filing a temporary restraining order in the California State Superior Court to stop the pilot program. A judge denied the order and the program rolled out as planned.

CONCLUSION Compared to other cities, San Francisco is well placed as a leader in the fields of technology and innovation and has significant experience managing new and disruptive transportation technology. Yet, even with its resources and previous experiences, the city was not immune to the legal challenge of managing dockless scooter programs and struggled with preventing scooters from becoming a public nuisance. As the case illustrates, regulating scooter-shares is as much about developing a legal framework to ensure safe and efficient transportation system as it is about managing the behavior and actions of the scooter companies and their customers. When dockless scooters came to San Francisco, the city had laws in place for their safe operation and mandates regarding sidewalk obstruction. However, scooter companies and their customers did not follow regulations, forcing the city to take legal action, proving that laws and policies can only go so far. Disruptive transportation technology will always be on the horizon for cities. While there will always be growing pains as cities and their residents acclimate to new modes, it is imperative that cities are prepared. Preparation, however, goes beyond having laws in place or a regulatory framework for system management. Preparation requires cities and technology companies to work together and have a mutual understanding that success is only possible with trust. Even more important, however, is the necessity to rethink the urban transportation landscape. New technologies are arriving at an increasingly rapid pace and traditional street geometries and allocations of space no longer work. Pedestrians, cyclists, transit and scooter riders, and drivers are all jockeying for their rightful place on the road. The case of how to make space for shared scooters is just one example of many that should serve as a catalyst for cities to rethink their transportation systems, including the allocation of space to public transportation and alternative modes.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica is a Senior Copy Editor for Panorama and a secondyear Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. Jessica loves baking brownies and buttermilk biscuits and is looking forward to the day when her baking is not fueled by stress.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Shared-Use Mobility Center, “What is Shared Mobility,” SharedUse Mobility Center. 2018. what-is-shared-mobility/. 2 District of Columbia, Department of Motor Vehicles, Synopsis of Non-Traditional Motor Vehicles, Other Vehicles and DC Law. (Washington, DC 2013). sites/dmv/publication/attachments/May%2017%202013%20Non-traditional%20Motor%20Vehicle%20chart.pdf. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 New York, Department of Motor Vehicles. Motorized devices that cannot be registered in New York, (New York 2018). https://

17 San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “Powered Scooter-share Permit and Pilot Program.” 18 Ibid. 19 Morrison Forster, “Statement of Appeal and Request for Hearing; Neutron Holdings, Inc., dba Lime Powered Scooeter Share Permit Pilot Program Application—Notice of Permit Denial, Letter to SFMTA, September 19, 2018. file/d/1WHwIfVQ2pWSsOzgf7OJgwd5O4Pbr4YsP/view. 20 Morrison Forester, “Statement of Appeal and Request for Hearing; Neutron Holdings, Inc., dba Lime Powered Scooter-share Permit Pilot Program Application—Notice of Permit Denial, Letter to SFMTA, September 19, 2018. file/d/1WHwIfVQ2pWSsOzgf7OJgwd5O4Pbr4YsP/view.

6 "Nuisance,”, 7 Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, “Scooter-share firms roll out service in SF ahead of city efforts at regulation,” SF Examiner, March 27, 2018. 8 Ibid. 9 California Vehicle Code, Division 11: Rules of the Road (January 2005), xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=21235. 10 Cyrus Farivar, “San Francisco to Scooter Startups: Your Customers are Terrible,” ArsTechnica, April 17, 2018, https://arstechnica. com/tech-policy/2018/04/san-francisco-dubs-new-electric-scooterstartups-a-public-nuisance/. 11 San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, “Motorized Scooter-share in San Francisco,” Letter to the company, March 28, 2018. 12 San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, “Motorized Scooter-share in San Francisco,” Letter to the company, March 28, 2018. 13 Office of the City Attorney, “Cease and Desist Unlawful Operation of Motorized Stand-Up Scooters,” Letter to the company, April 16, 2018. 14 City and County of San Francisco, Transportation, Public Works Codes – Unauthorized Powered Scooter Violations, Powered Scooter-shared Program, 2018, file:///Users/jessicaklion/Downloads/Legislation%20Details.htm. 15 San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “Powered Scooter-share Permit and Pilot Program,” (2018). https://www. 16 Ibid.

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Figure 1: Archigram’s “Walking City” (1964) experiments with alternative urban forms that easily slip from the discourse of urbanism.

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tatues, murals, benches: it’s all been done before. The ways in which we activate space range from public art to programming to everything in between. We are constantly trying to drive people to certain spaces, to control the movement of pure strangers about whom we know very little. Design becomes the primary tool we use to shape the paths of peoples’ days, hoping they’ll stop and enjoy distinctive moments along the journey. Why is it, then, that parks and other public spaces tend to follow the same formula? The standardization of street furniture and public art interventions – despite its utility – has dotted the public realm with too many wooden benches and too few surprises. Each addition to the street, a space, or the city at large, is an opportunity to animate the public sphere with meaning, even if only for a moment. Despite many effective examples of creativity in placekeeping, too many of these opportunities have fallen flat in Philadelphia and in other cities around the world. William Penn’s plan for Philadelphia called for four different green spaces dispersed throughout the colonial city, complemented by small interventions such as gardens providing buffers between plots of land. The City’s earliest design immediately established the importance of open, public space in the city as both protection against fire and enhancement of the city’s quality.1 While the sentiment was valuable, a meaningful public space requires more than just the seductive texture and color of greenery. It requires some sort of acknowledgment of the surrounding context, of the aspects that make the specific built environment or culture unique.

Camillo Sitte, a controversial yet influential urban thinker, adeptly understood the function of public squares within medieval urban life. The beautiful architecture and the culturally-relevant sculptures placed at the square’s edge framed the piazza as a theater, as both a means of entertainment for the common people and a grand gesture glorifying the city’s accomplishments. Sitte understood the power of a beautiful space that is simultaneously aesthetically pleasing and an homage to the city and its residents.2 A single monument at the center of the plaza removes the human scale, fosters a monotonous system for adorning gathering space, and leaves little room to reflect the diversity or uniqueness of the surrounding area. Similar to the way in which Sitte’s plazas perfectly frame urban space, public art and sculpture should be used creatively to frame more distinctive memories throughout the city, while also adapting to the dynamic nature of urbanism. The history of urbanism is laced with broad, sweeping movements, some of which seemed radical if not impractical. The form of cities evolves throughout time, yet cities were never quite brought to the point envisioned by the progressive architecture group Archigram, seen in their dynamic drawings of a radical urbanism. Archigram’s members envisioned a mobile city with few limitations, a city liberated by its freedom of movement. Both the scale and logistical complexity of the walking city dramatically diverged from the modernist lexicon of the time.3 Archigram represents the way in which form can be entirely reimagined to satisfy a need, even the need for daring spontaneity in urban spaces. Their drawings remind us that the city’s form is constantly evolving in one way or another, and experiences within public spaces should evolve with it. MAKE STUFF WEIRD AGAIN

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Figure 2: “The Gates” at Central Park invited an entirely unique and temporary experience within the infamous public space.

A hybrid of Sitte’s human-scale squares and Archigram’s radical form and purpose seems improbable; however, several public art projects have been successful in breaking away from the urban norm while still acknowledging the space’s existing beauty and potential. An impactful though not necessarily needed asset is a project’s temporary nature, in which knowing these moments may be the last of their kind heightens the experience. The most important yet overlooked ingredient is allowing room for human interaction with the project, creating the ability to wholly relate to the unusual feature meeting the eye. “The Gates” art installation in Central Park embodies artwork that punctuates green space with beautiful yet unusual vistas at a fairly large scale, and also embraces the park’s context by following its carefully planned circulation patterns and mirroring that fluidity. It invites the viewer through the gates and to experience the park in an entirely new way while embracing the space’s existing qualities.

were present once again.4 Wulsin turned what was a desolate yet contentious space into one of memoriam and political protest, utilizing the unique nature and history of the space to create a meaningful, haunting, fleeting moment. Design’s power to entice is often underestimated, and the romance of a grand gesture should not be. Let experimenting with context, form, temporality, and interaction be the new formula for bringing meaning into urban spaces and moments. Take risks, avoid standardization, and we can frame more distinctive memories for city dwellers. Each grand, romantic gesture will help ensure that public spaces, and cities themselves, will never go unloved.

One of the more complex and creative examples of evolving, temporary art is the Caseros Prison Demolition Project in Buenos Aires. As an abandoned political prison from Argentina’s period of military dictatorship was slated for demolition, artist Seth Wulsin manipulated the lighting of the prison’s windows, creating an effect where the faces of political prisoners who suffered and died there



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra is a Senior Copy Editor for Panorama, and a secondyear Master of City Planning student attempting to design things. She simply wants to make people’s lives easier through thoughtful planning and design, and is committed to green spaces and double stuf Oreos alike. She can’t wait for warm weather so that her bike lock will stop freezing and she can read books in Fairmount Park.

WORKS & IMAGES CITED 1 Robert Home, “The ‘Grand Modell’ of Colonial Settlement,” in Of Planting and Planning: The Making of British Colonial Cities (New York: Routledge, 1997), 1-41. 2 Sitte, Camillo. City Planning According to Artistic Principles. Trans. George R. Collins and Christianne Crasemann Collins. London: Phaidon, 1965. Cornell Library. Web. <http://urbanplanning.>. 3 Weller, Richard. “The Contextual City.” 31 Jan. 2018, Philadelphia. Lecture. 4 Winter, Caroline. “With a Hammer, Finding Ghosts in the Glass.” New York Times, New York Times Company, 5 Aug. 2007, www.  Figure 1: “Archigram!” Sola, Figure 2: Christo & Jeanne-Claude. “The Gates.” Christo & JeanneClaude,

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Instructor: Maria AltagraciaVillalobos & Oscar Grauer Students: Melissa Flatley Ekaterina Trosman Alexandra Zazula Christian Cueva Huang Wang Yuxuan Gu Mowa Li Yang Zhao Danielle Lake Jessica Arias



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olombia is not only the third-most biodiverse country on Earth, it possesses the world’s highest number of people internally displaced from conflict. After 52 years of violent fighting between the government, guerrilla groups, and paramilitaries, the national government signed a peace treaty with the country’s largest and most powerful guerrilla group, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), in 2016. People who had been forced to flee the Casanare department or small town of Monterrey are finally able to return to their land and their homes, creating new opportunities to reverse decades-long trends of transience, poverty, and environmental degradation. From the scale of the Orinoco River basin to the small town of Monterrey, our studio began with critical analyses of both ecological and cultural landscapes, all while incorporating the movement of people displaced due to violence and economic forces. During our time in Monterrey, we gained an understanding of the region’s extremes of beauty and hardship. We walked the town’s public spaces and lively streets, where the mountains and streams frame each space yet are increasingly difficult to access given new development. We worked with locals in trying to understand what a better relationship with the landscape means for the people living in the city, designing a future that includes both long-term residents and migrants. Our projects incorporate design interventions that seek to alleviate the hardships that history has afforded Monterrey and Casanare by making the landscape the protagonist of the region’s story. We propose phasing out harmful land uses and creating new opportunities for building livelihoods, using natural elements and flows to replenish what has been taken from the land, water, and people of Monterrey. In reconnecting with the landscape and guiding the city’s future, people can reconcile the glaring gaps they feel in knowledge and experience; they can feel stability and peace once again.


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Figure 1: Clean water and latrine access varies in rural Guatemala, with indigenous communities at a larger disadvantage.

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iarrheal disease contributes to childhood malnutrition, stunted growth, lost time at school, and up to two million preventable childhood deaths annually.1 According to UNICEF, diarrheal disease accounted for 9 percent of all deaths among children under age five worldwide in 2015.2 It is estimated that approximately 1,400 children die daily from preventable diseases caused by poor water quality and lack of access to proper sanitation and hygiene.3 The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.1 billion people worldwide practice open defecation.4 Affordable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a key public health issue. For the millions of the people globally who lack it, WASH is a global initiative that focuses on improving their access to clean water, adequate sanitation facilities, and proper handwashing practices. Guatemala is one of the epicenters of the global WASH crisis, leading the North American region in inadequate sanitation. This makes it an ideal place for the development of new WASH approaches. According to the World Bank, poverty levels among indigenous communities in Guatemala are more than twice as high as those found among other Latin American communities. Indigenous communities are 10 to 25 percent less likely to have access to piped water and 26 percent less likely to have access to improved sanitation than nonnative counterparts.5 Poor hygiene practices, lack of adequate sanitation, and poor water sources can contribute to the spread of preventable diarrheal diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Where there are no latrines, people resort to defecation in the

open which encourages flies that spread feces-related diseases like trachoma. The transmission patterns of these diseases illustrates the importance of safe disposal interventions in disease prevention. Open defecation provides the opportunity for certain species of flies and mosquitoes to lay their eggs or to feed on the exposed feces and carry infections around.6 Removing feces from the environment reduces fecal contamination of water sources and drinking water in communities already struggling to access clean water. Latrine intervention programs are growing in rural areas of Latin American countries, but there are limited studies that analyze their success. Systematic reviews have shown that improving sanitation can reduce diarrheal diseases by 32 to 37 percent.7 However, there is limited evidence that illustrates how increasing sanitation coverage in rural areas would reduce diarrheal infection. Handwashing and using sanitation facilities can have more of an impact on health outcomes than drinking water quality alone.8 Sanitation and hygiene promotion must accompany sanitation infrastructure to make a stronger health impact in the community.9 In a 1992 case-control study conducted in Sri Lanka, researchers reported that children from households where feces were disposed of in a latrine were less likely to have diarrhea than children whose families disposed of excrement in the open, stressing the importance of supplementary behavioral changes.10 A secondary data study by UNICEF in 2000 reported that children in Iraq whose stool was put in a latrine


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Figure 2: Washing facilities within the Tzununá indigenous community.

or toilet was less likely to suffer from diarrhea than those whose stool was left on the ground.11 These studies did not address social/behavioral norms on sanitation, hygiene, and the importance of culturally sensitive training on disposal of feces when conducting public health intervention.

household pollution as well as lack of wastewater management and water filtration systems, the residents of Tzununá are particularly susceptible to contracting waterborne illnesses.

In Guatemala, diarrheal infections are the leading cause of death in children under the age of five.12 Over 1,000 Guatemalans of all ages die every month because of severe diarrhea linked to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene. According to a demographic health survey, the prevalence of diarrheal infections in children under six years old increased from 12 percent to 30 percent between 1998 and 2000. Approximately 23 percent of the Guatemalan population live in extreme poverty.13 Along Lake Atitlán in southwestern Guatemala, the community of Tzununá, Sololá, is an indigenous Mayan community that is one of the only areas without an adequate water and wastewater management system. Compared to the neighboring communities, the indigenous population in Tzununá sees a significantly higher rate of poverty, with a high prevalence of malnutrition, infectious diseases, and diarrhea. Due to a heavy load of agricultural and

Since May 2015, the project partnership of Asociación Ati´t Ala´, Community Development Council (COCODE), University of Pennsylvania Engineers Without Borders (PennEWB), and the municipality of Sololá has been working to build pour-flush latrines for families in Tzununá. The goal of the latrine sanitation project was to improve overall health and sanitation in the community by increasing access to improved sanitation facilities, demonstrating the potential use of local materials to clean latrines, and observing the handwashing practices of households. The latrine intervention was focused on three sectors of Tzununá: Patuyá, Xesuj, and Tzanjuyú. Over the course of three phases, 50 households received pour-flush latrines. During each phase, PennEWB and Asociación Ati´t Ala´ provided education on how to clean and maintain the latrines, as well as the importance of handwashing to reduce diarrheal disease.




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“It is shameful to go to the plantation to defecate.” “When her family did not have a latrine, they had to use her relative’s latrine. It was embarrassing and caused problems with her relatives.”


“In the night, it is important to have a latrine near the house. It is important to keep the latrine clean.” “It is close to home and easy to clean.”


“It is very important for kids because the latrine is clean and there is a lot of sickness around.”



“You don’t have to bother anyone if you have your own latrine. It is important to have your own latrine.” “It is private and comfortable.”



“The latrine is comfortable and easy to wash.” “They did not have a latrine before and now they are comfortable using a latrine.”



“He remembered when he did not have a latrine and it was difficult to go to the fields to urinate and defecate during the rainy season.” “During the rainy season, it gets very wet. Before receiving the latrine, they had to go to the plantation to defecate and would get wet.”



“The latrine is very nice. It is a nice color and very washable.” “The style of the latrine. The latrine requires less water than the toilet.”


“Having a latrine has improved the family’s health.” It has helped reduce diarrheal cases in the household.”



13% 6%

Figure 3: Descriptive analysis of “other” responses to the question “Why do you like to use your latrine?”

Pour-flush latrines are ideal in communities like Tzununá where there is already a continuous water supply in the household that can be used to flush solids. In most cases, “because of the small quantity of water required for flushing, pour-flush latrines are suitable where water must be carried to the latrine from a standpipe, well, or other water source.”14 Although pour-flush latrines are generally more expensive to build than pit latrines, they have little to no flies or smell, making them more hygienic and pleasant to use than pit latrines. Pour-flush latrines are also favored in communities where child safety is a concern, as they eliminate fall risk. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the community’s knowledge and perception of pourflush latrine sanitation and handwashing hygiene. Questions this analysis aims to answer: Does the introduction of the pour-flush latrine reduce diarrheal disease? Did the education provided by PennEWB lead to proper latrine maintenance and better hand washing practice?

ME THOD Survey interviews were conducted by the research coordinator and translator in the three sectors in the village of Tzununá: Patuyá, Xesuj, and Tzanjuyú. The goal was to survey the 50 households who received pour-flush latrines in the three phases. Households participating in the study completed a 40-question survey focused on the families’ knowledge, attitude, beliefs, and practices in relation to three areas: diarrheal disease knowledge, hand washing practice, and latrine use/maintenance. Study surveys were developed in English, translated into Kaqchikel (one of the indigenous languages spoken in Guatemala), then backtranslated into English. The face-to-face interviews were collected at each household using a pre-tested structured survey. The surveys were administered in Kaqchikel by the translator, each taking 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The survey examined the study participants’ perception and knowledge of hand washing hygiene and sanitation of latrines. Ultimately 90 percent of the households (n=45) were interviewed in August 2017. Information collected from the survey contained demographic and socioeconomic status,


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including the number of members in the household as well as age, gender, occupation, education level, and marital status. The survey included a section for observations where quality of the pour-flush latrines was checked: level of cleanliness of latrine, presence or absence of unpleasant odor, visibility of fecal matter, availability of water and superstructure built around the latrine for privacy, and proximity to the household. Other data collected included frequency of latrine cleaning, latrine cleaning agents, how often the family washed their hands, and what they used to wash their hands. In addition to this qualitative data, all quantitative data were analyzed using Stata 14 statistical software.

their handwashing practice and to use a latrine instead of defecating outside. Fifty-three percent of respondents had no formal education, but were still motivated to improve the livelihood and health outcomes of their families. One multiple choice survey question asked participants what they thought were the causes of diarrhea. The top four responses were poor hygiene, not washing hands, eating dirty food from outside vendors, and open defecation. For participants that were asked to elaborate on the response of “other,” answers revolved around themes of food, hygiene, cleanliness, water, children playing, and healthrelated. Examples of written responses include “Not

“Literature shows that the more educated an individual is, the more likely they are to improve their handwashing practice ... Fifty-three percent of respondents had no formal education, but were still motivated to improve the livelihood and health outcomes of their families.” Full approval of the study was granted by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Pennsylvania, the mayor of Tzununá, and Centro de Salud y Nutrición Tzununá. Each respondent was assured that they could withdraw from the interview at any point and that refusal to participate in the study would not affect the status of the latrines that they already received from PennEWB. All of the household latrines were located approximately six meters away from the respondent’s house inside the family’s compound. The water basin and water pipe were located two meters from the latrine as a constant water source.

RESULTS Women and children are usually the end users of latrines and are the ones mostly responsible for maintenance and cleaning. Although we made several attempts to interview homes at different times of the day, the majority of the survey respondents were female. Even when a male household member was home, he preferred that female household member conduct the survey. Most of the male respondents were over the age of 40. Ninety-three percent of the respondents had children. The mean age was 38 (between 18-90). There was no correlation between education level and knowledge of WASH. Illiteracy among women, the poor, the indigenous, and rural residents is very high. The literacy rate in Guatemala is below the average for all of Latin America.15 Literature shows that the more educated an individual is, the more likely they are to improve


washing the latrine which can attract flies,” and “Not washing their hands before eating and after working.” In response to the open question “How do you think that diarrhea can be prevented?” the main themes were cleanliness (23 percent), food (14 percent), hygiene (17 percent), traditional practice (8 percent), and water (three percent), with responses including “Cleaning food before eating and boiling water to drink.” In response to the multiple choice question “When do you wash your hands?” there were 12 answer selections. The top three responses were before eating a meal, before preparing food, and after defecating (11 percent). In a descriptive analysis of the open question “Why do you think that hand washing is important?” the three main themes are to prevent sickness (54 percent), meal time (16 percent), and work (10 percent). Respondents felt that hand washing is “important to prevent different types of sickness, including diarrhea,” also mentioning that working in the fields makes it that much harder to keep their hands clean. When asked what participants learned at the EWB workshop 47 percent responded “other.” Omitting these, the top responses were clean the latrine (67 percent), use two buckets (16 percent), and how to wash your hands (four percent). How to use buckets refers to respondents learning to keep two buckets near the latrine—one bucket is used for water to flush, while the other is used for toilet paper or newspaper trash.


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In children

open def

In adults

Open Defacation

dirty food

Dirty Food

notNot washinghands Washing Hands

Poor Hygiene poor hygiene dont know Unsure









Figure 4: Responses to question “What causes diarrhea in children and adults?”

As for the question “Why do you like to use your latrine?” responses included their sense of comfort or ease of use, aesthetics, proximity to home, and shame.

DISCUSSION Although study respondents wash their clothes regularly and have access to piped water in their households, they do not always have access to resources like detergent and toothpaste to maintain their personal hygiene. Thirty-one percent of respondents were not washing their hands regularly. The study participants recognize that hand washing is important to addressing diarrheal disease, while open defecation was the least common response at 9 percent. We expected open defecation to be the majority response, particularly for the cause of diarrheal disease in children. The majority of respondents (27 percent) said they do not know what causes diarrhea in adults. Sixteen percent rated the cause to be open defecation. Although this was greater than the response for the cause of diarrhea in children, again we expected that open defecation would be the top reason for cause of diarrhea in adults. Not washing hands was at 24 percent, demonstrating that people understood the importance of washing hands. Twenty-five study respondents said that they wash their hands before eating, but only one respondent said that they wash their hands after defecating in the latrine. Most of the respondents stated that eating contaminated, unwashed food from outside vendors could cause diarrhea. When asked to explain the connection between contaminated food and diarrhea, most of the respondents explained that spoiled food led to the attraction of flies that then spread bacteria that can cause diarrhea. Respondents also stated that having their children play outside in the dirt and near places where their neighbors defecate, or dispose of waste (including feces), can lead to the spread of feces-related disease. When asked if they think that diarrhea can be prevented,

41 respondents (91 percent) said yes. We asked them a follow-up multiple choice question: How do you think that diarrhea can be prevented? The top three responses were washing hands, defecating in a latrine, and don’t know. Seventy-six percent of respondents mentioned ways not listed in the survey can prevent diarrhea, such as keeping their home clean from flies. Only three percent of respondents stated that the cleanliness and purification of water can prevent diarrheal disease. Without clean water, basic handwashing and other hygiene practices are not possible. None of the study participants indicated that they wash their hands after cleaning a baby’s bottom or after eating. Only 4 percent said that they wash their hands when feeding their children, and 2 percent wash their hands when they get dirty. Respondents are more likely to wash their hands before mealtime, but less likely to wash hands after mealtime or after defecting in the latrine. “Based on extensive research, WHO and UNICEF have identified hand washing with soap after stool disposal and before preparing food; safe disposal of feces and use of latrines; and safe weaning, food preparation, water handling and storage as the key hygiene behaviors.”16 One respondent stated that “if you do not wash your hands, you are increasing the chance of sickness.” Compared to cleaning a pit latrine or defecating outside, it is clearly important to have a latrine inside their household to maintain. One respondent said that the pour-flush latrine “is very fast to clean and not a problem to clean.” While the pit latrine attracted flies, the pour-flush latrine was washable and comfortable to use. It is especially important for female household members to have a latrine that is inside their home, as going out to the field can be a risk to their safety. In addition, the need for privacy and hygiene is paramount during their menstrual cycles. One respondent recalled that before they received their latrine, it was “shameful to go to the plantation to defecate.” Another respondent said when her family had to use her relative’s latrine, it was


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embarrassing and caused problems. The social stigma attached to outside defecation habits decreased with the use of household latrines.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS & PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS Study participants were satisfied with their latrines. The latrines were valued and generally cleaned every five to seven days. Participants appreciated the aesthetic of the latrine and the proximity. Participants did not make strong connections to health outcomes; therefore, future intervention should target norms and behaviors of latrine use. There should also be an understanding of the motivations behind the use of latrines and handwashing practices. Sanitation access can provide other positive externalities. For example, safe disposal of feces by one household prevents disease transmission to nearby households. Households in Tzununá are close to each other and how one household maintains its sanitation affects its neighbors. Future studies should investigate the effect of individual household sanitation versus community sanitation coverage on health access. The study had several strengths. Through convenience sampling, we were able to survey 90 percent of the latrine intervention participants. The study was a mixed methods research study, with a team that possessed a strong understanding of the community and worked with the local organizations and institutions in Tzununá. Another strength of the study is that we were able to provide recommendations to PennEWB and their project partners, and the follow-up data collection was initiated within a reasonable amount of time after the launch of the latrine intervention. However, we were not able to measure or evaluate if the study participants were taught the same materials during the WASH education before they received their latrines, as the prior handwashing, latrine use, and maintenance practices were not adequately documented by PennEWB and their local partners. As a result, we could not provide comprehensive recommendations on which areas of the education worked for the study participants. This initial information on the participants of the latrine intervention could have been collected prior to the latrine program intervention. The baseline data could have been used to provide a comparison of how much study participants learned or have not learned from the intervention. When PennEWB began the latrine intervention, they could not have anticipated that they were going to partner with a public heath graduate student to measure the effectiveness of their program. They ultimately met their goal of installing latrines in the homes of impoverished residents.


CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS The primary purposes of the project were to understand the knowledge of diarrheal disease, maintenance and use of the pour-flush latrine, and handwashing behavior. The secondary purposes were to understand residents’ prior knowledge and make recommendations that could possibly improve hygiene behavior, or the sanitation of latrines and handwashing practices, of the residents. Based on the study results, we have three recommendations for PennEWB as they continue the project with local partners in Tzununá, Guatemala: • Adopt United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) or World Health Organization (WHO) education on hand washing to encourage residents to develop new handwashing behaviors. • Conduct monitoring visits to evaluate each household’s maintenance and use of the pourflush latrine. • Collaborate with the local clinic, Centro de Salud y Nutrición Tzununá, to train community health workers to provide hand wash education to every household in the community. This study contributes to the understanding of how sanitation and hygiene interventions are associated with the use and maintenance of latrines. Multiple interventions that incorporate sanitation facilities and improving hygiene practices are more effective than just one single focus.17 Without toilets, water sources become contaminated. Without clean water, basic hygiene practices are not possible. Changing hygiene behavior is complex, yet hygiene promotion can be successful when it targets key behaviors in a culturally sensitive manner. This study may support future studies that can explore the design and placement of latrines, as well as how social norms can deter or strengthen understandings of sanitation and hygiene. Latrines are the most basic form of improved sanitation and are important interventions in public health. Understanding motivations for maintaining and using latrines can develop effective latrine promotion programs for communities in years to come.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Akudo Ejelonu is a first-year PhD in Demography at the University of Pennsylvania. She also completed the joint program at Penn: Master of Public Health and Master of Environmental Studies. She is committed to working in global health research focused on WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), infectious disease, gender politics, immigration and environmentally induced migration. She is interested in ethnography, community based participatory research, program evaluation, and mixed methods research. She is foodie, yogi, traveler and dedicated to learning different languages. She is a student member of the Global Water Alliance, a Philadelphia based organization that is committed to increasing global access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in the city and beyond.



Sally Willig, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Master of Environmental Studies Frances Shofer, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Master of Public Health Heather Murphy, PhD, Temple University, Master of Public Health J. Anthony Sauder, MS, University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering and Applied Science Engineers Without Border-USA Chapter Arturo Ujpan, Asociación Ati´t Ala´ Municipality of Sololá Centro de Salud y Nutrición Tzununá Tzununá Study Participants

1 Brown, Joe, Sandy Cairncross, and Jeroen HJ Ensink. “Water, sanitation, hygiene and enteric infections in children.” Archives of disease in childhood 98, no. 8 (2013). 2 UNICEF, 2017. 3 World Health Organization & UNICEF, 2015. 4 World Health Organization, health/monitoring/jmp2012/fast_facts/en/. 5 United Nations, 6 Patil, Sumeet R., Benjamin F. Arnold, Alicia L. Salvatore, Bertha Briceno, Sandipan Ganguly, John M. Colford Jr, and Paul J. Gertler. “The effect of India’s total sanitation campaign on defecation behaviors and child health in rural Madhya Pradesh: a cluster randomized controlled trial.” PLoS medicine 11, no. 8 (2014). 7 Mara et al. 8 Esrey, Steven A., James B. Potash, Leslie Roberts, and Clive Shiff. “Effects of improved water supply and sanitation on ascariasis, diarrhoea, dracunculiasis, hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, and trachoma.” Bulletin of the World Health organization 69, no. 5 (1991). 9 World Bank, 2003. 10 Mertens, Thierry E., Shabbar Jaffar, Malcolm A. Fernando, Simon N. Cousens, and Richard G. Feachem. “Excreta disposal behaviour and latrine ownership in relation to the risk of childhood diarrhoea in Sri Lanka.” International Journal of Epidemiology 21, no. 6 (1992). 11 Seter, Siziya, and Rudatsikira Emmanuel. “Diarrhea and acute respiratory infections prevalence and risk factors among under-five children in Iraq in 2000.” The Italian Journal of Pediatrics 35, no. 1 (2009). 12 Chiller, T. M., Mendoza, C. E., Lopez, M. B., Alvarez, M., Hoekstra, R. M., Keswick, B. H., & Luby, S. P. (2006). Reducing diarrhoea in Guatemalan children: randomized controlled trial of flocculant-disinfectant for drinkingwater. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 84, 28-35. 13 Instituto Nacional de Estadística. “República de Guatemala: Encuesta Nacional de Condiciones de Vida 2014.” 14 World Health Organization, 1992. 15 The World Bank, 2003. 16 The World Bank, December 2003. 17 Fewtrell, Lorna, Rachel B. Kaufmann, David Kay, Wayne Enanoria, Laurence Haller, and John M. Colford Jr. “Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions to reduce diarrhea in less developed countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The Lancet infectious diseases 5, no. 1 (2005). All images by Akudo Ejelonu.


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Figure 1: Lisa, a resident of Tusculum Street, helps paint a new planter box on Build Day. Lisa was one of the first champions of Tusculum Square. Photo by Ari Miller of Hinge Collective.

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ensington, once the textile workshop capital of the world, has suffered from the loss of industry and the resulting unemployment, poverty, crime, vacancy, low educational attainment, and high percentage of single-parent households. Neighborhood groups like the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), Somerset Neighbors for Better Living (SNBL), and Impact Services work tirelessly to bring hope and opportunity to the people of Kensington who have experienced generations of trauma. The idea of using the improvement of a site as a vehicle for healing and developing social cohesion emerged from a partnership between NKCDC, PennPraxis, Penn, and design firm OLIN. A vacant lot at the intersection of Kensington Avenue and Tusculum Street was the perfect opportunity to test out this theory and see if it could be replicated throughout the neighborhood. The project was simple: take an abandoned lot that was being used for dumping and illegal activities and have neighbors decide what they want it to be. Based on the community’s feedback, the site was designed and built to be a place that neighbors would be proud of and take care of—a few planters, sidewalk paint, grass, and a sign asking users to respect the site. Our task was to determine if a simple intervention like this could have a positive, healing effect on the neighborhood, something they would take pride in and would increase their sense of belonging. In addition, we needed to figure out how to best measure such a difficult-to-quantify idea in a way that was sensitive to the population.

TRAUMA-INFORMED PL ANNING Trauma has been defined as a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress: a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. While trauma is experienced at the individual level, trauma can also affect a larger community as a reaction to extreme stress that overwhelms a group’s ability to cope. It can be caused by a single event (e.g. natural disaster, physical assault) or a series of events or a chronic condition (e.g. housing insecurity, ongoing domestic violence). Based on the criteria established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, a trauma-informed approach can be applied to planning to promote a healthier community. First, planners aim to build community resilience to encourage the capacity to believe that some better future might exist. Second, collective efficacy is encouraged through planned activities of cohesion among neighbors, which create combined willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good. This is a key generator for members of a community to control the behavior linked to reduced violence. Third, they plan for social cohesion and cooperation with each other in order to survive and prosper. Last, the planner creates underlays for trust through managing shared expectations of control. In time, there is an increase in levels of trust that each neighbor will act on another’s behalf to regulate community management. Trauma-informed design can be applied on a project-to-project basis when working on interventions within communities that have

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Figure 2: Tusculum Square gets a new look. The public space in the heart of Kensington was formerly a derelict site for dumping on drug use. Photo by Ari Miller.

experienced chronic stress, recognizing how the physical environment affects an individual’s sense of identity, worth, dignity, and empowerment. Another important principle is recognizing that the physical environment has an impact on attitude, mood, and behavior. There is a strong link between our physiological state, our emotional state, and the physical environment. In this case, the plan should aim to reduce or remove known adverse stimuli/environmental stressors. Finally, designers should focus on responding by designing and maintaining supportive and healing environments for trauma-experienced residents or clients to resist re-traumatization. Methods of implementation include promoting the opportunity for choice while balancing program needs and the safety/comfort of the majority, as well as providing connectedness to the natural world.

HISTORY OF TUSCULUM SQUARE PROJECT SITE The site that is now Tusculum Square was once occupied by four row buildings of three to four stories with commercial activity on the ground floor. At least two of these buildings had been torn down by 1978, and the remaining two followed not


long after. The site eventually became a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Land Care site, managed by NKCDC, and was ringed by a fence. At some point in the early 2010s, the fence was knocked down by a car that rolled through as a result of the driver overdosing. Litter, needles, and excrement filled the site, especially as the neighborhood transformed into an open-air heroin market. The idea for Tusculum Square first originated as a landscape architecture studio idea through a collaboration between Penn, PennPraxis, and OLIN. NKCDC recommended using the site and the eventual owner, Shift Capital, supported the idea and agreed not to build on it for five years. NKCDC received a Knight Foundation grant and partnered with Hinge Collective following the completion of the studio to put the scaled-back plan into action.

PROJECT GOALS The first goal is to document how people act around and think about the site. Are their reactions positive or negative? Do they find the site to be a welcoming addition to the neighborhood or feel that it is not for them? Secondly, how can we draw conclusions on whether greater social cohesion, healing, and community ownership/pride are results


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Figure 3: The project brought together Tusculum Street residents, Last Stop Clubhouse Somerset, Somerset Neighbors for Better Living, NKCDC, Shift Capital, Impact Services, Hinge Collective, PennPraxis, and Penn. Photo by Ari Miller.

of the site improvement? Lastly, what are the lessons we can apply to other small-scale sites?

STRATEGIES AND OBSERVATIONS The strategy for this project began with a conversation with Andrew Goodman of NKCDC in which we discussed the specificity of this site’s contextual history, the sensitivity of the community experiencing trauma, and the intentions of the planned intervention. In order to gain perspective of the site that could lead to user observations and social conclusions, we established three methods of interaction: observe, visit, and converse. The observation component was key in collecting speculative and quantitative data but required some discretion on our part in order to not disturb naturally occurring behaviors. This meant concealing our presence by both constantly moving around as well as sitting in an inconspicuous location. We also committed to visiting often and intermittently in order to understand behaviors at different times of the day and week. The visitation of surrounding sites (Hope Park, McPherson Square, Hissey Park, Oakdale Street) allowed us to compare the qualities of public space in this area and the potential future of the Tusculum site. It also provided us with exposure to

the contextual dynamics and specific issues in reality. The conversation aspect of our strategy was geared toward creating naturally flowing discussions with surrounding residents and focused on interaction through the planned, collaborative activity of the Build Day.

OBSERVATIONAL INSIGHTS Over the few weeks, we drew various insights regarding planning, building, and monitoring feedback about the site. Sense of ownership and accomplishment: Having residents actively involved in the process can help promote sustainability of the site because it induces the feeling of mutual ownership of the site among the volunteers. During our observations, we saw volunteers and residents of Tusculum Street come back to site to maintain its cleanliness. Many of them during the Build Day also expressed their voluntary commitment to keep their eyes on the site to make sure it remains clean and welcoming. The volunteers also feel better about themselves and the community. Jose, who recently got over his alcoholism, mentioned how he felt useful and regained his sense of belonging to the community. Several other volunteers had similar experiences, and they found the Build Day to

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be a new beginning of their brighter lives. Unlike the other recent development in Kensington that some residents felt were built for a very exclusive group of people, Tusculum Square was regarded as a true community space. Familiar faces bring in more: Another positive phenomenon that arises from involving the residents in the process is a significantly increased level of engagement and interaction. During the Build Day, several passersbys stopped at the site to talk to the volunteers that they knew from the community. Compared to having contractors or outsiders working at the space, knowing someone at the site raises an individual’s curiosity about the site and induces a higher likelihood to interact. One of the volunteers also actively looked out for any passersby he knew. When someone showed up, he paused what he was doing and went over to engage them to participate and advocate positive changes in the neighborhood. We also noticed that on our other observation days, when there was at least one person working at the site, it seemed to attract interactions from the passersby. To amplify such positive network effect, it might be a good idea to appoint active residents as ambassadors for the project to build a stronger core of the community going forward. Optimize first impressions: First impressions have long been proven to be extremely important in human perception. Making sure that residents associate the site with positive feelings early on can go a long way. One example would be the fact that the volunteer group during the Build Day was diverse in terms of age, gender, race, and organization they represented. It was also clear that everyone was not from the same outsider group. Such diversity instills the sense of approachability of the site among the residents. We should encourage local residents to make the first move by using the space for their community events. If the space is perceived as community-driven, it signals to the rest of the community who is welcome at the space.

hostilities for the social good. Other volunteers also reported that they had long been looking for local space to spend time with their friends and families. One of the Tusculum Street residents, Jonathan, planned to create a social media channel for the site to connect the community and strengthen the ties among them.

CONCLUSIONS After completing our observations and research, we came up with the following recommendations for questions to ask while measuring the impact of the site improvement on social cohesion: • Do people look at the site? • Do they stop? How long? • Do they point to something? • Do they say something to a friend? • Do people clean the site themselves? How often? • Do they make the site their own (e.g. hanging holiday lights on trees)? How can this be encouraged? Does this site succeed in creating social cohesion? Based on limited data collection, observations, and literature review, we did sense the beginning of what we perceived as social cohesion—a sense of belonging, cooperation, and participation. We also saw the early stages of healing and a sense of ownership and pride for the neighborhood. What’s next for Tusculum Square? The space will be completed by the end of the year. The next steps are to lay down sodding and paint the sidewalk. There is also an information pillar which has already been constructed by the Penn students and will be transported on site to be secured into a new concrete casting. Finally, we were pleased to learn that the Tusculum Street residents organized a Christmas party with lights and decorations at their new Tusculum Square.

Carefully planned changes: All features of the plan should be evaluated whether they are appropriate for a particular community. Giving out food or installing benches could be ideal for some other locations, but not for Tusculum Square. Understanding the local atmosphere such as trauma can help to better inform the planning process. Another important part of planning is to maintain consistent and incremental changes. Not only does it take time for the community to absorb and accept the changes, but also the changes would appear as less disruptive or shocking, leading to better reception. Early sign of social cohesion: During the Build Day, we observed certain members of the community who had been in a non-friendly relationship working together at the site. This proves that working towards mutual goals can lead to victories over pre-existing



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ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Park Sinchaisri is a third-year doctoral candidate in Operations Research at the Wharton School. His primary research interests are in the design and analysis of data-driven and human-centric solutions to problems in operations management, currently focusing on gig economy, team dynamics, and urban analytics. He hopes to improve the way people live, learn, and work, and the way cities run. Growing up in Bangkok, Park is a world traveler, avid foodie, and aspiring creative artist and data scientist for social good. Mariela Hernandez’s undergraduate degree was in Architectural Design from the University of Florida. She is currently in her third year of the Masters in Architecture program and is pursuing a Certificate in Urban Design. She is very interested in the dynamics of public spaces and community-oriented design. In her design career, she hopes to find better ways to integrate architecture with urban design by focusing on public spaces and cultural institutions. Alex Baum is currently pursuing a Master of City and Regional Planning focused in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning from the University of Pennsylvania while working as an Associate Planner in the Office Transit, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Planning at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). Prior to this, he started and directed an education non-profit in New York City focused on teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) using sailing and boat building to underserved high school students.

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This mixed media sculpture is constructed to be malleable and buildable over time to facilitate stakeholder engagement. It serves as an homage to East Kensington’s continued history of making, the intricacy of networks, and the resilience of the community. Sheet rock, brick, compact disc, shovel, candle, wire, wood, spoon, toy car, joint fastener, thread, twine.

Non Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 2563 Philadelphia, PA 19104-6311


University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design Department of City and Regional Planning 127 Meyerson Hall 210 South 34th Street Philadelphia PA 19104-6311


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