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Infill Philadelphia to Explore Reuse of Industrial Sites

Infill Philadelphia will look at design strategies for revitalizing manufacturing in old industrial sites, like this former factory.
In the most recent real estate boom many former industrial buildings were converted to loft housing or demolished to make way for big box retail projects, but our shifting economy and the current administration’s focus on green industry is encouraging the reuse of our industrial landmarks for new manufacturing opportunities.  The Community Design Collaborative will partner with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation on the next phase of Infill Philadelphia, an initiative created by the Collaborative to promote workable solutions for revitalizing urban neighborhoods through innovative design.

Infill Philadelphia, Industrial Sites will focus on design strategies and prototypes for the reuse of neighborhood-based industrial sites. The initiative will confront the dual challenges of improving job opportunities for neighborhood residents and restoring the competitive market standing of underutilized industrial buildings and land.

This third phase of Infill Philadelphia will build on the Industrial Market and Land Use Strategy undertaken by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce. The study encompasses a variety of revitalization, employment and development opportunities related to market-driven industrial activity and is set for release in the fall of 2009.

“We’re excited to be a partner in Infill Philadelphia: Industrial Sites. The initiative will add thoughtful, creative options to the menu of Philadelphia’s industrial land development strategies and complement the city’s sustainability, green jobs, and economic initiatives,” says John Grady, senior vice president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.

Previously, the Collaborative focused on neighborhood commercial corridors in partnership with Philadelphia LISC and food access in partnership with the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, The Reinvestment Fund, and The Food Trust. The first two phases of Infill Philadelphia resulted in public dialogue between more than 3,000 design practitioners, neighborhood leaders, community development experts, policymakers, funders, and the media; more than 1,000 donated hours of predevelopment design services; and scores of innovative design strategies and prototypes for the redevelopment of urban infill sites.

The Community Design Collaborative has received a grant from The William Penn Foundation for the third phase of Infill Philadelphia, an initiative to help urban communities re-envision neighborhoods, leverage existing assets, rethink the use of older spaces, and address the practical concerns of specific sites and the communities around them. The design initiative kicks off in October 2009 with a series of public programs and events, starting with a design charrette that focuses on interim uses for industrial sites.

Strategies for industrial renewal is becoming a prominent issue in Philadelphia.  The Philadelphia Inquirer recently featured an article, "Retooling for Factories of the Future," about small-scale manufacturing in Philadelphia and the potential for job creation through reenergizing the region's manufacturing sector.




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