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Development project provides flexibility for natives and visitors of Philadelphia

9/5/2012 | Real Estate Blog

A number of recent changes in Philadelphia have been positive from the perspective of land use planning and development. As we’ve written, a new zoning code promises to make development easier for businesses. To take another example, a new public space outside the city’s train station, named The Porch, has been quite an improvement over what was in its place before.

The Porch, which opened last fall, is a 50-foot wide, block-long plaza replacing an unnecessary outer parking lane and barren sidewalk on one side of the train station. It has seating, shade, farmer’s markets, a beer garden, music and other activities. The Porch is intended to be a sort of entryway to the city, and a place to socialize and enjoy entertainment.

Whereas people previously congregated inside in the food court for something to eat, outdoor eating is now available. Moveable tables and chairs, umbrellas, planters are provided in the area, which bases much of its inspiration on Time Square.

The Porch is has been described as a “low-key” projects, because large capital expenses have been spared in order to determine what works best for the area. The goal, at the beginning of the project, is to experiment with different options and see what works best. According to University City District-the group responsible for The Porch-short-term implementation such as that done currently with The Porch is a key element of good “place-making.” It involves watching what people are doing with a space and waiting to invest larger capital until the use of the space becomes more and more clear.

Development projects like The Porch can do a lot to stimulate business in an area, and contribute to an overall positive experience in places like Philadelphia.

Source: The Atlantic Cities, “In Philadelphia, a Porch for an Entire City,” Kaid Benfield, August 9, 2012