May 18, 2007 |
Ah, the poor, maligned suburban developer. Finding someone to speak up for the breed is almost as difficult as securing approvals for a big, buildable tract in Chester County. But now comes Witold Rybczynski, the best-selling author, distinguished Wharton School professor, accomplished architect, and Chestnut Hill resident. In his latest book, Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville , he tells of the trials and tribulations of Joseph and Jason Duckworth, father-son developers from Wayne-based Arcadia Land Co., as they struggle to create an old-timey, walkable small town in a time of PVC keystones, composite floorboards, and factory-manufactured production houses.
May 23, 2000 |
In a partnership that one organizer said would have been unthinkable "not that long ago," builders and preservationists came together yesterday to promote walkable communities, which they say can both ease sprawl and make money for the builders. Now comes the hard part: selling the concept of high-density living to municipal leaders and the residents who usually turn out in intimidating numbers to fight it. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, only local officials have the power to approve development.
March 31, 2003 |
Sprawl is a well-worn and fully frustrating word. It creates visions of houses in the midst of farmland, the sameness of shopping centers bracketing towns and country villages, bumper-to-bumper traffic on major highways and increasing congestion on narrow, winding back roads. Only a few months into a new year, planning commissions, county government, municipal officials, and proponents of farmland and open-space preservation are wrestling with urban sprawl's far-reaching implications.
October 25, 2000 |
In their first and only debate in the campaign for the 143d state House seat, Democratic challenger Chris Serpico last night questioned the record of incumbent Republican Chuck McIlhinney, saying McIlhinney was too partisan and did not go far enough to tackle issues of sprawl and inadequate health care. McIlhinney, who touted his role in passing landmark land-use legislation and a patients' bill of rights, argued that Serpico, a lawyer, was presenting half-truths and did not understand the legislative process.
March 29, 2004 |
One of the saddest days on the calendar has to be national "Walk to School Day. " The very name makes it sad. It tells us that a once-routine activity is now being regarded as an unusual physical feat. Next thing you know, walking to school will have its own Olympic event. Before families started moving into the sprawl, children would walk to school every day. They lived in a neighborhood with sidewalks, and the neighborhood had its own schools. Small wonder the kids are getting fat. They can't walk to school.
June 21, 1990 |
When it comes to the future of Plymouth Township, one thing is certain: No one wants another King of Prussia, with its sprawling industrial area adjoining major highways. Joe Bucovetsky of Norman Day Associates feels the proposed comprehensive plan, which calls for a "core" commercial area in Plymouth, anticipates the possibility of sprawl - and therefore avoids it. But residents and council members are less optimistic that the plan, which specifies a system of roads and walkways within the core, will preserve the suburban quality of life.
August 8, 2005 |
Despite one of the most ambitious open-space programs in America, Chester County is losing its battle with sprawl. Since 1989, the county has spent a whopping $140 million to buy easements on farms, expand parks, and subsidize new projects in its towns. Many Chester County townships have adopted dedicated taxes to fund their own open-space initiatives. Yet each year, the county loses about 5,000 acres - an area larger than Phoenixville, Coatesville, and West Chester combined - to sprawling development.
March 30, 2004 |
Philadelphia must stem the tide of business and population loss. This drain has left behind vacant and abandoned properties, a diminished tax base, fewer job opportunities, and neighborhoods where the quality of life is ebbing. Meanwhile, officials in some suburbs acknowledge that the uncoordinated, sprawling nature of their development has brought spiraling property taxes, traffic congestion, overburdened schools, and a huge loss of open space. According to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, while the population of the five-county Philadelphia region grew by only 2.5 percent between 1982 and 1997, newly developed land grew by 47 percent.
February 8, 2000
Pennsylvania's hopes of launching landmark antisprawl legislation gained a surprising - and vital - new ally this week. His name is Tom Ridge. He's the governor. Long viewed as a skeptic about the need for a more activist approach to development, Gov. Ridge now pledges to help strengthen communities' ability to shape growth. Among the new tools he'd like them to have: potent legal defenses against the lawsuits developers habitually file over building restrictions; incentives for towns to plan regionally, and, most significant, the right to carve out growth areas.
April 27, 1999 |
Those of us who work in Center City and not in one of those suburban industrial parks have many advantages we often take for granted. I was reminded of this after spending some time with a particular group of people, many of whom work in the industrial parks located in the suburban-ring areas surrounding Philadelphia. Much depends, of course, on where you are located, but when it comes to the sprawl zones, all is not well with many who work there. I am told that morale is low. Commuting time is a major complaint, particularly for those who live in the city and and travel by automobile.