The Office of Sustainability has also released its second progress report showing significant steps toward implementing Greenworks Philadelphia and making this the greenest city in America.
These connected plans represent a major change for Philadelphia. Cities that plan can take advantage of opportunities. To get ahead, you need to think ahead.
These strategies all fit together. They are not grand wish lists featuring big ideas that appear innovative but are not doable. They are carefully conceived and more in keeping with the original vision of William Penn, who wanted the city to be a livable community for all.
Having our new plans and up-to-date zoning code makes this city better prepared to spur growth and more quickly respond to opportunities. Together they serve as a signal to investors and developers that Philadelphia is a place where they can do business, while assuring renters, homeowners, and prospective home buyers that their neighborhoods are an important part of what makes this city great. The plans also make Philadelphia more attractive to visitors and tourists.
And all of these plans are the result of thousands of hours of citizen input. Both the Zoning Code Commission and the Philadelphia City Planning Commission held dozens of public meetings and forums seeking input from residents. The launch of the Citizens Planning Institute has also been a major step in educating and informing the public about zoning and planning issues. And the Central Delaware Waterfront Master Plan is the result of a public process that is unprecedented in Philadelphia.
All of this comes at a challenging time for Philadelphia. The national economy is still sputtering, and the city continues to face budgetary challenges. But none of that has kept us from looking ahead.
After a long decline, the city's population has stabilized. There is no reason to expect a population anything like the 2.5 million people anticipated by planners half a century ago. But there is every chance that the long era of decline is over. Philadelphia2035 envisions a city of 100,000 more people and 40,000 more jobs in the next 25 years.
The city is taking control of its future - no small feat for a place that for too long was more interested in what happens to the city rather than what happens because of the city. While we all recognize that plans can change and that implementation won't look exactly like what any plan says, amazing things can happen as a result of good planning supported by the public who truly care about the future of the city.
Alan Greenberger is deputy mayor for economic development and chairman of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.