Dear Philadelphia,

I grew up in Miami. I’ve been thinking about cities since I was 15. Since I saw Futureworld and then Westworld. I thought it’d be so cool to build a city from the ground up. Epcot was MY idea. Imagine my disappointment when it materialized in Orlando. Disney beat me to the punch.

I took a class in architecture once at Miami Dade Community College. I was greatly influenced at the time by Albert Otero, a wonderful Miami architect. He loaned me his copy of The Place of Houses. I was also inspired by the futurist manifestoes, Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Living City, Jane Jacob, and Grillo’s Form, Function, and Design. My love of architecture has, in fact, run long and deep. Unfortunately, my first (and last) architecture teacher was an embittered, unimaginative man who flayed architecture of its poetry. I became a slave to the calculator, and hated it. So I switched to communications. And Philadelphia.

I’ve been thinking about THIS city, Philadelphia, since we moved here in 1996. It turns out lots of people have been giving Philadelphia’s development and future deep thought, especially lately. Many are trained in architecture, planning, and historical preservation. Many are amateur afficionados like me who care passionately about this city and want to see it blossom. I invite them to share their thoughts and inspirations here. I invite them to enliven the discussion there should always be about place between the people who share that place.

I no longer think cities built by Disney, or built to be enclosed for that matter, are very good ideas. Cities should be built with the best ideas and principles in mind, and those need to be talked about, not just by politicians and not just by planners. The conversation has to include residents- the people who know the city because they walk its streets, live in its neighborhoods, raise children in it. I hope Green City Journal will be a site where Philadelphians can find out what people and organizations are doing to build a positive future for the city. Here is a place to dream about a better Philadelphia.

2006-07-17 20:41:47

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