Today is a big day for PHS: the opening of our 2012 Pop Up Garden! If you’ve been by 19th and Walnut streets lately (on the northwest corner of Rittenhouse Square), you likely noticed a team in brown PHS t-shirts braving the heat and busily planting. All the hard work is worth it; we can’t wait to share our new temporary garden with you!
A celebration to mark the opening of the new garden will take place today (Friday, June 22 ) at noon. You are invited to attend and hear from special guests including Mayor Nutter; PHS President Drew Becher; Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program; Jacqueline Gonzales of Chipotle Mexican Grill; and Timothy Abell, President of Firstrust Bank. Chipotle and Firstrust are official sponsors of the garden, and we so appreciate their support!
The garden address is 1905-15 Walnut Street. The regular garden hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, from 11 am to 2 pm; Thursday evenings from 5 to 7; and the second Saturday of each month from 9 am to 1 pm.
If you’re in the mood for some interesting reading, it seems as though the pop-up concept is popping up all everywhere. An article on salon.com discussed Chicago’s plans to combat asphalt with small green spaces citywide. A second story, this one from The Globe and Mail, focuses on pop-up architecture and how the concept encourages risk-taking and innovation.
See you at the garden!
The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), with whom PHS is a proud partner, is one of six entities to be honored by The Clean Water America Alliance with its 2012 U.S. Water Prize for their watershed-based approach toward water sustainability.
“These six water champions are showing America how to innovate, integrate, and educate for water sustainability and economic success,” explained Alliance President Ben Grumbles. The other U.S. Water Prize winners include the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Project WET Foundation, Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
PWD provides integrated water, waste water, and storm water service. Its mission is to address complex environmental, demographic, and financial challenges, as well as to become the steward and protector of Philadelphia’s rivers and streams through a program call Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW). The vision behind GCCW is to unite the city with its water environment, creating a green legacy for future generations, while finding a balance between ecology, economics, and equity. GCCW’s commitment is to “green” more than 34% of the combined sewer area’s impervious cover in the coming 25 years.
We want to congratulate PWD for its vision, commitment, and dedication to the City of Philadelphia and its water resources.
Big news from overseas: the PHS Pop Up Garden from 2011 will be showcased at the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale. The theme this year is “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good.” What an honor!
The goal of Spontaneous Interventions is to “frame an archive of compelling, actionable strategies, ranging from urban farms to guerilla bike lanes, temporary architecture to poster campaigns, urban navigation apps to crowdsourced city planning. These efforts cut across boundaries, addressing architecture, landscape, infrastructure, and the digital universe, and run the gamut from symbolic to practical, physical to virtual, whimsical to serious. But they share an optimistic willingness to venture outside conventional practice and to deploy fresh tactics to make cities more sustainable, accessible, and inclusive.”
PHS is proud to be included in such an inspirational showcase. PHS program manager Linda Walczak says “PHS is honored to have our work selected as part of the exhibition. We were thrilled to learn of the theme this year, knowing that the Pop Up Garden would be a good candidate. I hope the project draws international attention to the type of great work PHS does throughout the community.”
And keep an eye out in case PHS decides to pop up again this summer!
On Wednesday, PHS staffer Bob Grossmann participated in a webinar for HealthyPeople.gov, a science-based, national organization that aims to improve the health of all Americans.
The 30 minute presentation, titled Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators?, focused on PHS’s Philadelphia LandCare Program, which has demonstrated significant reductions in crime through the clearing and maintenance of vacant lots.
Joining Bob in the conversation was Dr. Charles Branas of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Branas works to improve health and healthcare and is recognized for his efforts to reduce violence and enhance emergency care. Much of his work incorporates human geography and spatial interactions. His studies have taken him to various places; beyond Philadelphia, he’s conducted research in rural counties across the US and in cities and small towns in Guatemala and other countries.
You can listen to the webinar by clicking here.
If you’re at all familiar with PHS’s City Harvest initiative, you know PHS is committed to urban agriculture. If the topic interests you as well, then come to the latest installation of the Urban Sustainability Form for…
High Tunnels: A Sustainable Solution for Local Urban Agriculture
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Networking Reception: 6 – 6:30 pm, Program: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Register at hightunnels.eventbrite.com/
At this Urban Sustainability Forum, find out how high tunnels could help improve access to affordable, nutritious foods in Philadelphia. High tunnels are nonelectric, temporary structures that consist of a layer of plastic over a pipe frame. These structures, however, are not greenhouses. They do not require a permanent heating or ventilation system, ventilation is accomplished manually, and there are no furnaces or fans. High tunnels can extend the growing season and improve the yield and quality of vegetables, small fruits, and cut flowers.
Urban farming is a fast-growing movement in the United States, especially in Philadelphia. As more than 86 percent of the U.S. population now resides in or around urban areas, the sustained use of urban farming could contribute to food security, food safety, and workforce development. Increased availability of fresh and nutritious food in urban areas could combat the alarming rise of obesity and thus reduce related healthcare costs in the United States. High tunnel projects could help eliminate Philadelphia’s “food deserts,” or urban areas lacking access to nutritious, affordable food, and provide more fresh and nutritious specialty crops to underserved populations.
URBAN VOIDS: grounds for change will be on sale during this program. This book illustrates the innovative community engagement process and the international ideas competition that challenged residents and designers to imagine sustainable re-purposing of its vacant lands. Featuring essays by key participants and an illustrated gallery of competition finalists, URBAN VOIDS offers inspiration for Philadelphia’s future.To find out more about efforts to use vacant land in productive, innovative and healthy ways, see http://www.gfcactivatingland.org.
Register at hightunnels.eventbrite.com/
Trees, gardens, and grass may be pretty, but did you know they might actually keep you safe, active, and happy as well?
It’s true. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently found that neighborhoods in which blighted, vacant lots have been cleaned and greened report lower crime rates than neighborhoods in which vacant lots have not been improved. The study has been reported on by both The Atlantic and the Philadelphia Inquirer, both of which highlight the efforts of the PHS Philadelphia LandCare program to improve vacant lots citywide.
From the Atlantic article:
Vacant lot greening was associated with significant reductions in gun assaults across all four sections of Philadelphia in the study and with significant reductions in vandalism in one section. Greening was also associated with the reporting of significantly less stress in one of the sections of the city and with more exercise in another. Cholesterol numbers were lower to a statistically significant degree for the greened areas across all four city sections.
The Inquirer also touts the job-creating benefits of greening programs like LandCare, which engages “the landscapers and community groups [in] mowing grass and pruning trees.”
It’s all just one more reason to start a community garden, Plant One Million, and keep supporting PHS‘s goal of making Philly as green (and safe) as it can be. And thanks to the everyone in the Philadelphia Green department for all they do!