Monday, May 01, 2006

Field Report Part II: Gentrification in North Philadelphia

“Gentrification is a general term for the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district's character and culture. The term is often used negatively, suggesting the displacement of poor communities by rich outsiders. But the effects of gentrification are complex and contradictory, and its real impact varies.”(Benjamin Grant - Flag Wars web resource, PBS)

Some may believe that gentrification is a good thing for the city while others believe that it is driving them out of their homes. While areas of Philadelphia have deteriarated there are people who want to restore it and make it a better place for native Philadelphians and visitors.

Pictures provided by Philadelphia Weekly

Friday, April 14, 2006

Field Report Part I: Industry and Commerce in North Philadelphia
Purpose: To analyze how the community of North Philadelphia support both industry and commerce.
Date: March 16, 2006
Location: South on 11th, East on Master, North on 9th, and West on Berks

Philadelphia is a city booming with industry and commerce. From the naval ship yard, the sores and restaurants downtown and the sports arenas in South Philly, the city is continuously bringing in revenue. North Philadelphia also once brought in much of the city’s revenue through its factories. Now however, it is a much different story. The area that explored on the field trip was South 11th street, East on Master, North on 9th, and back towards Temple by heading West on Berks street.

It is obvious that this area at some point was extremely industrious. From the several different factories and warehouses to the homes that surrounded the area. The businesses at one point brought money and jobs to the area. The homes, which are now abandoned and left destitute, are the last remains of what seemed to be a small community.

Picture provided by Google Maps
Places Visited
1. St. Malachy's Church
2. Abandoned buildings/factory
3. Boxing Gym
4. Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)
5. Hardware, produce
6. Abandoned Row Homes
7. Community Park

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Community Map
1.) Environment: Place or area will people and things reside.
2.) Resources: commodities which are valuable to society
3.) Social Environment: Place where people communicate and reside with others
4.) Spirit of community: an air or common essence within a community

Urban Juxtaposition
1.) Juxtaposition: places or things that are very
2.) Urban landscape: setting with typical features of a city including very industrial areas
3.) Declining community: has no physical attraction; less structured than other settings
4.) Expanding: growing quickly within the community
5.) Adjacent: Next to or contiguous areas

Environmental Dilemma
1.) Sustainability: qualitatively tries to preserve what is best for both society and the
2.) Solar Energy: Electricity or Energy generated from the sun
3.) Renewable Energy: captures energy from natural sources that are continuous
4.) Clean Energy Programs: programs that are meant to educate people on alternative
energy sources
5.) Conservation: the act of reserving energy and resources

Horse and Carriage
1.) Urban environment: city setting
2.) Community: area in which people co-exist and share common interests
3.) Regulation: monitoring or keeping businesses under certain rules and restrictions
4.) Heat exhaustion: being overworked under extremely hot weather conditions

Horse and Carriage

Many tourists from around the world visit New York on a daily basis. These same tourists provide the city with most of its revenue. Horse and carriage rides are one of the most quintessential aspects of the city that attract many tourists. However, the recent horse and carriage accident in New York has many second guessing the importance of the carriages traditions versus the health of the horses. While I do not agree that the horse and carriage rides should be banned I do believe that they should be regulated to ensure the health and safety of both the horses and people.

Much can be done to ensure the safety of the horses in the city. First, the horses could be restricted to the parks only, so the number of horse related accidents would decrease. This will reduce the chances of the horses being spooked and running into traffic. If the horses happen to get scared at least they will have the park to run around and there will be fewer chances of them running into cars. Also if the horses stay in the park they will have less exposure to car fumes. Restricting the horses to the parks will help in the health and safety of not only the community, but the horses as they work in the urban environment.

A second regulation for the horses would be to implement mandatory working hours per horse per day. New York summers can be harsh and working conditions in the summer may be brutal for animals that work long days. The horses should be limited to a maximum amount of straight hours per day during the summer. They should also be given frequent breaks. It should also be mandatory that the horses are kept hydrated regularly, especially during the summer months. These working regulations would help to ensure that the horses are not dehydrating or suffering from heat exhaustion.

Regular health checks on the horses would be the third regulation. Many protestors of the horse and carriage rides believe that sick horses are used for many of the rides. “Some horses are worked with split hooves and some have internal parasites.”(Equine Advocate) Having animals that are sick pull carriages poses a hazard not only to the horse but also to the carriage riders. A sick horse can collapse and injure itself and whomever he is providing a ride to.

These simple regulations are a means of meeting a middle ground for both those opposed and for the carriage rides. The health of the horses and the public are both equally important. These regulations will eliminate an increase in health risks. They will also keep a historic time honored tradition and popular tourist attraction alive in New York City.

Horse and Carriage picture provided by Loon Meadow Farm


The city of Philadelphia has many features and aspects of its urban landscape. There are areas of the city that hold a great deal of history. There are neighborhood s in the city that are known as the more glamorous areas and other neighborhoods that do not hold the same reputation. There are many juxtapositions that can be found in the city, Edberg-Olsen Hall is an example of one.

Edberg-Olsen Hall is located on Diamond and 10th streets, on the edge of Temple University’s main campus. The building is the football teams practice facility. The surrounding neighborhood is what many would define as a typical urban setting. The community itself is declining. It is in far contrast to the University adjacent to it that is vastly expanding.

From Septa’s regional rail line commuters can see the vast difference in the community’s setting. The R-3 west Trenton line comes in from the north and passes along some of Philadelphia’s less attractive neighborhoods. Suddenly, a field of grass and a brand new beautiful facility emerges as if from no where. The building is in an odd position. It is located just outside of the University’s limits, away from all of the new buildings and just adjacent to the community. It looks as of it doesn’t fit in to its surroundings.

Picture of Edberg Hall was provided by Temple University.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Community Map

A community is a set environment where people come together to live. The community itself is built to accommodate their living situations and also promote growth within the community. Bristol Borough is a quaint community that nurtures tradition and promotes the growth of its community.

My map depicts Bristol borough a suburban community about thirty miles north of Philadelphia. The community itself is situated close to many major roadways and is easily accessible to New Jersey. The Pennsylvania turnpike’s last exit is for Bristol. I-95 and Route 1 also connect many commuters to Philadelphia and other areas. The Burlington Bristol Bridge can be seen from historic Bristol along the Delaware and is opened at least once a day for boats passing along the river. Public transportation is also a key factor in the community. Septa’s regional rail line the R-7 connects patrons to Philadelphia, Trenton and New York.

Within the community of Bristol are many common areas that can be found in most communities. Bristol has a high school and several grade schools including a private school. The Margaret R. Grundy library was built by one of the town’s founders, Joseph R. Grundy. The Bristol Riverside Theater attracts many theater goers from all over the state. The theater is located next to Bristol’s oldest inn and restaurant, the King George Inn.

Bristol’s main street is Mill Street. The town’s main street draws revenue from its town’s stores that are all located on the strip. There are several restaurants located on the street including breakfast cafes, a bar and Stocks that has an area designated for patrons to enjoy their dinner outside. Mill Street is the resource for many of the community’s events. The Bristol Warf is the center of the town’s social environment and holds events every weekend in the summer to celebrate community events. Overall the community's spirit is found here and grows with each event and most definitely over time gets stronger.

Environmental Dilemma

Billions of people live and inhabit the earth. On a daily basis we consume and abuse the earth’s natural resources. Some of the resources that we consume are extremely dangerous to the existence of our planet. As a society we should try to find more renewable energy sources as an alternative.

The world’s supply of fossil fuels is a finite resource. Renewable energy sources are important for our society to invest in. Renewable energy is cleaner and better for the environment. Solar energy systems are great for air quality because no fuels are combusted in its production. In addition to air quality solar energy uses no water in its production. Land use is also not an issue because most solar panels are attached to existing structures. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

They are also better for consumers. Consumers who invest in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass are not only saving themselves money but also investing in the future of the environment.

As an alternative the government has regulated energy markets to secure the use of such sustainable resources as solar energy through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, 1975. Individual states have also joined in the effort to promote conservation through various clean energy programs.

Clean Energy programs work in favor of the consumer. They offer rebates and financing for those considering such technologies as solar energy. New Jersey’s Clean Energy program rebates consumers almost 70% of the installed cost for the installation of solar energy systems. There are several ways we as a society can choose to do our part in protecting the environment. Energy conservation not only helps the environment it helps consumers.

Picture from

Renewable Energy Resources

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Communities are diverse and complex in their structure. Many communities have a long standing history as well as a standing reputation within the community or area it resides in. North Philadelphia, particularly the “Golden Block”, has a strong cultured Hispanic community. Although the neighborhood itself at one time had an extremely negative reputation, its community continues to break down those stereotypes through its artistic endeavors and community institutions.
The “Golden Block” is known to many Hispanic Philadelphians as a community full of their native culture. The “Golden Block”, located on North 5th Street, is the center of the community’s business district. “The Golden Block is Philadelphia’s identifiable Latino commercial district, situated in the heart of the city’s largest residential concentration of Latinos. For many new migrants and immigrants, el barrio is a place to seek out support, services, and culture in one’s tongue. It is home to many of the community’s largest cultural, social, and service organizations. For established Latinos, it represents a cultural heart and a center of activity.”(Wilson, 2006)

Unfortunately this center of culture and community was once known as “The Badlands”. The area surrounding North 5th Street was drug infested and adorned with abandoned houses. "This is ground zero for the heroin business in the Northeastern United States," Forrest Sawyer says in the documentary, referring to the corner. "Five square miles in Philadelphia the locals call the Badlands.” (Jones, 2001)

Although the neighborhood once had a reputation as the “Badlands” it’s community and those invested in it worked together to clean it up. "This is a neighborhood that has a reputation for being one of the most drug- and crime-infested neighborhoods in the entire city of Philadelphia," Mayor Street says. "We made a commitment ... and we are going to take back this neighborhood for the hard-working men and women who have invested in the neighborhood." (Jones, 2001) The people within the community believe in its potential and work hard to keep it a place where they can live.

Picture is of Philadelphia’s Bloque de Oro (Golden Block), provided by

Jones, Solomon. “When Badlands go Good.” Philadelphia Weekly. February 7, 2001. April 19, 2006.

Wilson, Kathryn. “Building El Barrio: Latinos Transform Postwar Philadelphia”. April 18, 2006.

Wilson, Kathryn. “Cultural Expressions”. April 18, 2006.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

This blog is for my Urban Environment class at Temple University. I will be posting class assignments and different compentary and opinions throughout the semester. Feel free to browse around.