Scenic Philadelphia Summer Soirée

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Scenic soiree logoPlease join us for Scenic Philadelphia’s Summer Soirée, celebrating 25 years of protecting the visual character of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and the beauty of its scenic vistas, on Wednesday, July 13 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Presidential City’s Sora Pool Club.

Register at www.scenic.org/soiree

If you would like to purchase tickets with a check please mail to: 

Scenic Philadelphia
1504 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

If you have any questions regarding tickets please call Scenic Philadelphia at 856.428.7585.

Hosted by:

post brothers logo

Complimentary valet parking included with your ticket!

Philadelphia Futures/Scenic Philadelphia Summer Enrichment Program

 

HACE group photoGroup shot- Nic Esposito speaker

By: Madeline Ranum – University of Pennsylvania Civic House Intern

July 2012 - “If I can make a change, you can make a change,” Zaire McLaughlin, a rising high school junior, told her audience with conviction. Zaire and nine peers spent their summer vacation developing proposals for community renewal in Philadelphia.

For the second year in a row, Scenic Philadelphia, formerly known as SCRUB, and Philadelphia Futures partnered to create a summer enrichment program for local high school students. Taking place throughout July, the course, entitled Renewing Philadelphia’s Future: Exploring Urban Planning and Renewal, was four weeks of intensive hands-on learning, concluding in a research paper and public speaking competition based on student propositions for community development.

The partnership between Scenic Philadelphia and Philadelphia Futures provided the students with a unique set of resources. While Scenic Philadelphia is a non-profit focused on reducing blight in Philadelphia through advocacy, education and legal action, Philadelphia Futures is an intensive college preparation program designed to provide high-performing but economically disadvantaged students with the resources to pursue their goals. With supplemental academic courses, personal mentorship, college guidance, and financial programs, Philadelphia Futures boasts a 98% rate of college enrollment for the students in their program.

The students grappled with some of Philadelphia’s most difficult planning issues, including the persistent presence of vacant lots and abandoned factories which tarnish neighborhoods and communities, and the history of “redlining” and its dire effects. Jennifer Reed, a long-time teacher at Philadelphia Futures, led the program and developed this year’s curriculum. A team of two interns and a teacher’s assistant supported her efforts. The students did not focus exclusively on blight, however; they also highlighted and celebrated the beauty of their city. Through field trips and guest speakers, the students learned to consider Philadelphia with a fresh perspective.

Guest speakers included Mary Tracy, Executive Director of Scenic Philadelphia; Maria Gonzalez, Director of HACE (Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises); Stephanie Kindt, General Counsel for Scenic Philadelphia; Melissa Jest, Neighborhood Coordinator of the Preservation Alliance; Amy Hillier, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design  and Nic Esposito, writer and urban farmer. The students visited a thriving Community Development Corporation, learned how Philadelphia’s complex history can be used to revitalize the city, explored legal avenues to community development, and spoke with current community activists about ongoing projects. Exposure to a wide variety of Philadelphians working toward the revitalization of the city informed and inspired the students’ final project proposals.

The program culminated on July 25th with an event at the Philadelphia Bar Association. In a conference room with panoramic views of the city, filled with mentors, family, and contributors to the program, the students undertook what for many was their first public-speaking experience. Abdulaye Soumahoro, Samantha Walker, Wesley Zhao, and Zaire McLaughlin presented their proposals for community development before a panel of judges. From turning a vacant lot into a dance studio to converting an empty building into a place of worship to be shared by all religions in the community, the ideas were diverse, thoughtful and focused on community unification. Zaire McLaughlin won first prize and received a Nook Reader for her proposal to convert a vacant lot in her neighborhood into a community garden. Although only four students presented their proposals, all of the students participated in the event, some reading poetry about their communities and others sharing their reflections on the program.

Now that the second year of the program has come to a close, questions remain: what happens after the final presentations? Do the areas of blight that challenged the students remain unchanged? Brianna Zepp, participated in the Renewing Philadelphia’s Future program last summer and returned this year to work as a Teacher’s Assistant. Her proposal to turn a vacant lot in the Juniata neighborhood into a community center had won first prize before a panel of judges last summer but the vacant lot itself remained the same. With this year’s program wrapping up, Brianna chose to send her proposal to her local newspaper and to her government representative, City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez. During the last week of the program, a beaming Brianna arrived in the classroom holding up a copy of the Juniata News with her entire proposal published and a meeting scheduled to speak with Councilwoman Quiñones-Sanchez. Though the vacant lot still sits empty, for Brianna, this is an incredible start.

The Renewing Philadelphia’s Future summer program has left the students with improved writing, researching, and public speaking skills. Yet the positive outcomes go beyond academic achievements. The class teaches students to see the world around them—both the beauty and the blight—and to know that they have the power to alter it. As this year’s winner Zaire McLaughlin said to sum up her proposal, “We can all do it together, one lot at a time.”

Documentary-This Space Available

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By Sabrine Tribié, Civic House- University of Pennsylvania Intern

March 28, 2012  The Philadelphia Free Library was the venue for the showing of the documentary “This Space Available” produced by international branding expert Marc Gobé, for an audience of approximately two hundred and fifty people. In the movie, Gobé and his daughter, director Gwenaëlle Gobé, tell the stories of people around the world fighting to reclaim their public spaces from visual pollution. The event included an audience discussion with Marc Gobé, moderated by Avi Eden, a director of The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.

The discussion opened with the question of what is an effective method of advertising.  How do you spend your energy if you’re not spending it on outdoor advertising? Gobé described his conversation with the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  The city underwent a remarkable transformation when Mayor Gilberto Kassab passed the “Clean City Law” that banned outdoor advertising in 2006.  How did Coca-Cola spend its time and efforts after the ban?  Gobé says they focused on enhancing their products’ presentation in supermarkets.  These efforts were met with an astounding 4% increase in sales.

The ban on outdoor advertising was actually a relief for the Coca-Cola CEO.  Gobé described outdoor advertising as an arms race, with Coca-Cola having to constantly compete with Pepsi for bigger and better signage.  “Whenever Pepsi put up a sign, Coke had to put up an even bigger sign,” Gobé remarked. He then discussed what Philadelphians should do to address the issue of outdoor advertising.  Moving away from the notion created by New York City that big cities should be covered with colorful signage and flashy lights, Philadelphians should realize that their brand is different.  Rather than compete with New York City, they should strive to make Philadelphia more attractive and livable, and brand the city in a unique way.

Mary Tracy, Executive Director of SCRUB also used the forum to announce that SCRUB, formerly known as Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight, has changed its name to Scenic Philadelphia. SCRUB was founded in 1990 as a grassroots coalition to stop the proliferation of billboards in Philadelphia. Since its inception, SCRUB has been responsible for the removal of 1000 illegal billboards and its volunteer attorneys have represented community organizations and local taxpayers in forty court appeals. In addition to fighting billboards, recent accomplishments include preventing the expansion of Fox Chase Cancer Center into Burholme Park, conducting a seminar on digital signage with the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association and partnering with Philadelphia Futures to provide a three week summer enrichment program for local high school students.  SCRUB currently provides leadership as a coordinating member of the Crosstown Coalition; a group comprised of over twenty five civic associations and neighborhood associations across the city providing input on Philadelphia’s new zoning code.

The new name, Scenic Philadelphia, more accurately reflects the broad focus of the organization. The name change also is indicative of the organization’s affiliation with Scenic America. Scenic America is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to preserving and enhancing the scenic character and visual quality of America’s communities and countryside. Scenic Philadelphia’s work isn’t an isolated activity; it’s based on a value system that guides Scenic America and is shared by over thirty five affiliates nationwide.

Please take a momet to look at he trailer for this thought provoking documentary.
https://thisspaceavailable.vhx.tv/

Scenic Philadelphia Facilitates Summer Academic Program for High School Students

August 3, 2011

Scenic Philadelphia Facilitates Summer Academic Program for High School Students

By Willa Granger

PlanPhilly

This past July, SCRUB, the Public Voice for Public Space, partnered with Philadelphia Futures to create a three-week summer academic program for local high school students. Philadelphia Futures is a city-wide college success program that seeks to prepare low-income students for college. Through personalized college guidance, financial programs, and supplemental academic courses, Philadelphia Futures has helped 98% of its student body enroll in college. The intensive class, which culminated in a final research paper and PowerPoint competition, was taught by Sam Quinney, a Villanova grad who began his career in education through Teach for America.

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Scenic Philadelphia Facilitates Summer Academic Program for High School Students

By: Willa Granger University of Pennsylvania Intern

August, 2011 –  This past July, Scenic Philadelphia partnered with Philadelphia Futures to create a three-week summer academic program for local high school students. Philadelphia Futures is a city-wide college success program that seeks to prepare low-income students for college. Through personalized college guidance, financial programs, and supplemental academic courses, Philadelphia Futures has helped 98% of its student body enroll in college. The intensive class, which culminated in a final research paper and PowerPoint competition, was taught by Sam Quinney, a Villanova grad who began his career in education through Teach for America.

Scenic Philadelphia Facilitates Summer Academic Program for High School Students

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July 2012 – Scenic Philadelphia, the Public Voice for Public Space, partnered with Philadelphia Futures to create a three-week summer academic program for local high school students. Philadelphia Futures is a city-wide college success program that seeks to prepare low-income students for college. Through personalized college guidance, financial programs, and supplemental academic courses, Philadelphia Futures has helped 98% of its student body enroll in college. The intensive class, which culminated in a final research paper and PowerPoint competition, was taught by Sam Quinney, a Villanova grad who began his career in education through Teach for America.

The curriculum, which Quinney developed in concert with Scenic Philadelphia, asked students to tackle issues integral to Scenic Philadelphia’s mission-those of blight and urban renewal. Wrangling with this question of urban change, a subject that is often nebulous and subjective, participants were forced to look at their own communities with a more acute eye. The final project, which required students to propose a plan to revitalize a space, challenged kids to analyze and scrutinize their environments; to understand which places they liked, which they disliked, and why-tough questions for any city resident, let alone a high school student. Through class discussion, field trips, and lectures by guest speakers, the class learned about important urban issues-from redlining, to zoning laws, to sustainable design-and how they, as residents, can better their own communities.

The superb lineup of guest speakers, arranged by Scenic Philadelphia, helped to flesh out the content of the curriculum for the class. Within the first week alone, Kellie Patrick Gates, a reporter for PlanPhilly, gave students a tour of the recently renovated Race Street Pier. Professor Amy Hillier, at the University of Pennsylvania, enlivened the class with her discussion of historical housing practices as well as her current research into the content of corner store signage. Our own Mary Tracy, along with Bonita Cummings, of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, spoke to the power of passionate, community-based efforts to promote change, while a visit to the New Kensington Community Development Corporation served to exemplify the tangible results of a dedicated local organization. By week two, the discussion transitioned from pre-existing urban issues to how students might effect change. Scenic Philadelphia Staff Attorney, Stephanie Kindt, spoke of the legal process and zoning issues an individual must face when attempting to alter the urban landscape, while Robin Kohles, from the Community Design Collaborative, hosted an interactive discussion about design and its impact on our space.

After several days dedicated to editing and finalizing their work, students presented their refashioned spaces to a panel of judges. The final ceremony was held the next day, Friday July 29th at the Philadelphia Bar Association, during which the students with the top three projects presented their work for a prize. In front of their peers, family, and friends, Patrick Reddick, Brianna Zepp, and Tiana Blackson presented their work. Though each project was distinct-from Patrick’s plan for a local library, to Brianna’s vision for a recreation center, to Tiana’s strategy to clean up an overgrown cemetery, each proposal was marked by the student’s sense of ownership and pride over their space, a sense of vested dedication necessary to enact change. The panel of judges, after a long period of deliberation, awarded Brianna first place for her proposed recreation center to be built in Juniata. Brianna’s project was standout not only for its vision, but likewise for the breadth of its program, which in addition to providing some history of her space, likewise proposed a thoughtful plan to actually carry out the program. Brianna’s prize was a brand new Nook, the perfect tool to help her continue her studies.

Scenic Philadelphia would like to congratulate our Philadelphia Futures students for their work. We’d like to thank all the speakers-Kellie Patrick Gates, Amy Hillier, Mary Tracy, Bonita Cummings, Stephanie Kindt, and Robin Kohles-for helping contribute to the program, as well Holly Brown for filming the final event. We’d also like to thank the New Kensington CDC and the Philadelphia Bar Association for hosting the group. To use a quote Mary Tracy shared with the class, “One generation plants the seed, another gets the shade.” Through a three-week intensive curriculum, young people learned the profound wisdom of this sentiment and how their actions alter not only their own lives, but likewise the life of their community.

Scenic Philadelphia

Tony Davis – University City High School/Philadelphia Futures Intern

May, 2011 – Hello, my name is Tony Davis, and I am currently a senior at University City High School. I am also a scholar in the Philadelphia Futures: Sponsor-A-Scholar program. This program is for college bound students who wish to continue to further their education and use it as a springboard for a meaningful career. The Sponsor-a Scholar program has been one of the most helpful programs and it has also introduced me to my internship at SCRUB. SCRUB, is a group of dedicated, hard-working citizens, fighting against urban blight in our community. They work day in and day out to develop ways to better the scenery of our city. One of their goals is to reduce or eliminate harmful advertisement in our city. I was chosen to become an intern for SCRUB entirely on my future career choice. I want to become an excellent architect and my goals as an architect is to build spectacular buildings and houses to improve the visuals of the US.

It is fact that an attractive city does well financially opposed to an unattractive one. A beautiful city is a city in which people want to live, work and play. We know that the billboards in our city however, are causing repulsion. Also, billboards are energy consumers. Their bright lights and vibrant colors may be dazzling, but they are draining tons of energy by the second. It is a fact that the average billboard uses the same amount of energy as 30 homes in the US.  In addition, because of the random billboards sprouting on property, property values have decreased. A recent study showed that in Philadelphia, if your home is within 500 feet of a billboard, it is worth $30,000 less than other nearby property. This will not do! Especially, since we are already facing difficult economic times.

I never noticed how unattractive and ubiquitous billboards are until I joined SCRUB so now I share a very similar goal as SCRUB.  I want to join their fight against urban blight. Earth is home to the most wonderful and amazing cities with beautiful vegetation within and surrounding our cities. Sadly, some of our greatest cities are being disfigured by billboards. Numerous companies have been cutting down trees and disrupting gorgeous scenery by placing their billboards extensively around the cities. Many citizens have begun to rise up and fight for billboard removal. In the U.S. we have successfully eliminated billboards in Maine, Vermont, Hawaii, and Alaska, some cities  have a limited the number of  digital billboards; our goal is not yet finished but we are progressing greatly. The U.S. is not the only victim of this “billboard plague”, Paris, Rome, Venice, and other international cities have the same issue. For example, in Venice a group of cultural experts are revolting against the Italian government. This is occurring because the government is using advertisement in front of or around historical architecture.  The city of Rome, which is considered one of the most beautiful cities with astonishing relics, is losing many of its majestic trees. Ambitiously, Rome has begun to tackle this billboard crisis. In addition, Paris has already passed a new law restricting outdoor advertising. This will hopefully reduce its “visual pollution” by 30%.

Billboards and other outdoor advertisements are unwanted and unhealthy to our world. This is why we are fighting; not just the U.S., but the rest of the world is having the same issue. We want what’s best for our society, so nothing will stop us of ridding our world of billboards. Average, everyday people are stepping up as well to prevent this billboard infection. We, SCRUB, have changed our name to “Scenic Philadelphia” because our new name is a statement and a sign that there is still hope and there are people out there who actually care about the beauty of our world.