Friday, September 21, 2012

Meet Fast Forward Presenter >> Joe McNulty

What is your Big Idea for Philadelphia?

Balancing top-down & bottom-up approaches to planning and design

With a progressive mayor and top-level staff at most agencies, the ball is rolling on modest but much needed reform and ambitious planning goals. Additionally, private and non-profit organizations like CDC's and charitable foundations shape neighborhoods, housing, public space and policy, some with a degree of accountability and some beholden almost exclusively to their missions/boards.

We also have a motivated and increasingly educated populace with an increasingly sophisticated capability of organization. Everything from guerrilla gardening in vacant lots and arguably excellent street art to neighborhood level plans with professional help from Community Design Collaborative.

There is still a disconnect in how these various forms of planning, place-making and public design interact. Though citizen and neighborhood input for planning and zoning is now codified, how will it play out?

We need a better two-way flow of information between what works on a neighborhood-specific and the government/non-profit industrial complex that shapes our city for better or worse, especially when it comes to vacant properties.

Similarly, how transparent, responsive and accountable are the public/private partnerships that shape our public spaces?

Joe McNulty has worked in community development for the last ten years in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Though originally an Okie, Joe has fallen in love with the city that stole his heart and sold it for scrap. He is a contributing writer to the blog Curbed Philadelphia.


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