Greening our space

While this blog does cast a skeptical eye on that "Greenest City in America" mantra of which our Mayor is so fond, it's good to see Philadelphia getting some recognition for literally greening. A recent piece in OnEarth, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, spotlights Philly as an example of creatively using greenspace and green spaces to build a more sustainable physical environment.

And even though the infographic (at right - click through to the page for the interactive version) is a big generic and a bit forward-looking, it's still great to have our town associated with such developments. (Let's just make sure they actually, you know, develop!)

Cities can spend billions maintaining and upgrading this antiquated gray infastructure -- or they can follow Philadelphia's lead and turn instead to green infrastructure. The principle is simple: instead of struggling to cope with the volume of water rushing through the sewers, prevent it from getting there in the first place by capturing it and filtering it slowly and naturally through the soil.

Over the next 25 years, Philadelphia will cover one-third of its paved areas with "green acres" of trees, vegetation, and permeable surfaces, at a total cost of $2.4 billion (a savings of billions over the gray alternative), in a bid to become America's greenest city.

Meanwhile, in extremely related news, the Daily News just reported the latest on the Reading Viaduct project, which is increasingly looking like our own version of NYC's High Line might actually come to fruition:

The city is in talks with Reading International Co. to take control of the larger section of the viaduct, said Alan Greenberger, the city's deputy mayor for economic development.

Meanwhile, the Center City District is working with SEPTA on a legal agreement to create a park on the shorter section of the viaduct owned by the transit agency.

"You can see it from down below here and you can walk around and it's really scary," Struble, 66, said of the view of the viaduct from street level. "It's not attractive till you get on top, then you go, 'Oh!'

"It's an amazing area, just a linear park just waiting to happen."

Great - so come on and make it happen!