As you may have heard in the news recently, the City of Philadelphia is embarking on an ambitious plan called “Green 2015,” which has the goal of adding 500 more acres of green space to the city’s footprint within the next three years. And no, this does not mean that the City will be going on an old-fashioned conquest to plunder land from neighboring towns by conquest like a Medieval land battle. Instead, it’s addition by subtraction.
Anybody who has driven through inner-city Philadelphia can attest to the “concrete jungle” feel of many neighborhoods—in fact a study shows that 200,000 Philadelphia residents don’t live within a half-mile of a park or green space, as quoted in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article about the City’s green initiative.
To counter this, the City will be reclaiming large swaths of unused paved areas that can be found on vacant lots, in underused school playgrounds, and other such locations.
Breaking up these unused or underused paved areas provide many benefits, including:
- Green spaces generally improve property values since families like to have them in close proximity to their homes for kids to utilize
- Storm water inlets on streets can only handle so much water, whereas green spaces help absorb more water and enable it to filter it through the ground
- Local residents can potentially use the new green spaces to plant gardens to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, helping to save money from buying groceries and enabling families to eat more healthfully
All in all, even though APCON is in the paving business, we appreciate efforts to maximize the usage of current and prospective paved surfaces and eliminate unnecessary pavement since green spaces have great benefits to the community and environment. Kudos to the City of Philadelphia for recognizing the needs of its citizens by reclaiming unused pavement and we look forward to seeing the City’s pavement transformation over the next few years.