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Philadelphia: major advances in zoning and development over last 10 years

5/9/2012 | Real Estate Blog

Our Philadelphia readers may be aware of the advances in zoning and development in Philadelphia over the past 10 years.

These advances, recounted in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article written by Harris Steinberg of PennPraxis, have earned the city national awards and made Philadelphia a model in urban planning and development.

Among the improvement noted in the article are:

·Restoration of the City Planning Commission as a forum for public conversation about urban design and economic development

·City-wide development planning for the first time since 1960, covering 18 districts

·Establishment of the Citizens Planning Institute to educate and empower Philadelphia residents to take an active role in community planning

·New zoning code for the first time since 1962, which will make development consistent with current land use and settlement patterns

·Plans to create 500 acres of new park space by 2015

·New master plan for the Delaware River waterfront aimed at improving the area

We have written about a number of these developments on this blog. One of the things that is apparent regarding these development projects is that there are almost always a number of competing interests at stake. Zoning decisions, in particular, affect a lot of people with potentially divergent interests. Oftentimes, people’s livelihoods are at stake with major zoning changes. For those involved in planning and development, it can be difficult to convince communities and neighborhoods to make changes that will benefit everybody.

Those working in the areas of land use, zoning and development do well to consult an attorney who can help them plan through the various issues and potential roadblocks.

Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, “We’ve come a long way, Philly,” Harris Steinberg, May 8, 2012