49th and chancellor proposal

West Philadelphia High Urban Studies Class

Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

Introduction/Summary………………Page 3 Goals/Objectives ......................... Page 4 Needs/Problems .......................... Page 4 West Philadelphia History ............... Page 5 Procedures ................................. Page 6 Demographics ............................. Page 6 Key Personnel ............................. Page 7 Timetable ................................... Page 8 Budget ...................................... Page 9 Transformation ............................ Page 10 New Infrastructure ……..…………..Page 11 Our Design ................................. Page 12-13 Next Steps .................................. Page 14 Acknowledgements ....................... Page 15

West Philadelphia High Urban Studies Class Spring 2008




Picture or something

West Philadelphia students in the Urban Studies Class hope to fix the community to help insure a positive view of the community. So far some of the students in the Urban Studies class including the proposal team had passed out surveys to the community to get the community feedback. Also we had a community clean up on April 5, 2008 to clean up some of the garbage that is surrounding the lot. Our plans for the lot are to plant some vegetation, paint benches, de-weed, and to create a miniature park. We are West Philadelphia High School students that are trying to make positive changes in a vacant lot on 49th and Chancellor St. Some West Philadelphia High School students are in an urban studies class and throughout the year we discussed urban issues, and for our final project we are putting everything we learned into fixing the 49th and Chancellor St. vacant lot. We as a class need to make a decision to do something with this vacant lot that will be beneficial for old

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West Philadelphia High


Issues & Objectives
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Needs/problems There are many problems/needs that exist around the vacant lot at 49th and Chancellor St: One of the problems that exists around the vacant lot area is violence Also another problem is people in the neighborhood not cleaning up and just having trash around the neighborhood One of the needs that is major in this neighborhood is to keep it clean Another need for the neighborhood is to fix the lot and provide the community with a better place to spend time People in the community feel as though the community has a bad reputation so

Goals/Objectives As a class we want to change people ’ s views about West Philadelphia High School by making a positive change at 49th and Chancellor Street. Our goals are: To fix the vacant lot and provide a better place to enjoy To make neighbors have more pride about their neighborhood Make the community believe that West Philadelphia High School is not as bad as the media displays it to be Also to unite the community with W.P.H.S


A Brief History

Philadelphia history
West Philadelphia started out as a farmland
48th and Walnut on July 12, 1911 (from phillyhistory.org)

outside of the city of Philadelphia in 1854, when it became a part of Philadelphia. In 1872 the University of

Pennsylvania moved its campus to West Philadelphia. In 1892 Drexel Institute opened at 32nd and Chestnut. During this time affluent white people settled in West Philadelphia in mansions. In the early 1900 ’ s transportation changed West Philadelphia. Trolleys were used to get in and out of the city, and the Market-Frankford El was built in 1910. The inexpensive transportation allowed middle class families who were Italian, Jewish, and African American to move to West Philadelphia. Most of the houses were built between 1910 and 1940 during this time of population expansion. The increase in population led to the need for a high school. West Philadelphia High School was built in 1911. The student body was primarily white, and the building was separated by sex ( boys and girls ) . In the 1920 ’ s the two buildings became one and it has been that way ever since. Even though the building didn ’ t change, the student body became primarily African American. Between 1925 and 1970 African Americans moved to West Philadelphia in greater numbers. In 1925 West Philadelphia ’ s African American population was 30,495 and by 1970 it reached its peak at 184,865. Over the last 30 years gentrification has been occurring. University of Penn ’ s expansion has meant that college students and university related people moved into the area by the high school. West Philadelphia High School has stayed almost 100% African American. During this time West Philadelphia High School hasn ’ t had the best relationship with the community. The school has been known for fights, fires, and bad

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P r o c e d u r e s / S ta t i s t i c s
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Urban Studies students did many things beneficial to the lotMade plans on what to do with the lot Met with the neighborhood which the lot is located in Collaborated with the neighbors to help clean up the lot Did a survey with the community about the lot

K e y P e r s o n n e l I n v o lv e d

The Urban Studies class has had a year long partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, and along with community input, the professors and students from Penn have helped use on a weekly basis throughout this

In picture above students from WPHS and Penn, teachers and professors work on their original lot designs.

West Philadelphia High Urban Studies Class


West Philadelphia High Urban Studies Class

T i m e ta b l e Fo r P r o c e s s
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t i m e ta b l e

Description of Work

Start and End Dates

Phase One

Planning Phase


Phase Two

Gathering Resources Make it happen design the lot and make it better Maintain the lot by visiting it.


Phase Three


Phase Four


Community Survey Summary Our class went door-to-door and distributed a survey to the residents of the concerned blocks. They either told us through the survey or in face-to-face conversations what they would like to see done with the lot. The wishes of the community were important in our design efforts. Items most people wanted included: Garden New benches Flowers Bushes/shrubs Mural Trash cans Decking on half the lot/flowers on the other half Everyone interviewed said they would be willing to help to maintain the lot – most agreed a reasonable expectation was to help twice a month.




Unit Cost $40 $45

Expanded Cost $2880 $7200


Bluestone Paving Fence Gates Picnic Tables

72 160 4 4

Two entrance areas Delgard Madrid Black 8’ 3’ wide– 2 entrance




Landscape Forms– Gretchen

Grill Trash Receptacles

1 4

$600 $500

$600 $2000 Landscape Forms– Gretchen

Flowerbed Community Garden Grass Benches Bench Total without Labor

277 440

$6 $6

$1662 $2640

263.3 4 2

$4 $1600 $1200

$1053 $6400 $2400 $30,235.00

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We want to transform the lot into a community center.

Transforming the Lot
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The lot at 49th and Chancellor in its current state.

Murals have a transformative effect on formerly bare walls. We want a mural to be part of our design project.

Summary of Survey Results from CommunityItems most people wanted included:

Jane Golden, who is the head of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Project, came to tell and show us about the project. She seems to support our efforts.

Garden New benches Flowers Bushes/shrubs Mural Trash cans Decking on half the lot/flowers on the other half

We suggest new infrastructure at the lot to help beautify the lot, but also to ensure that it serves the community for years to come.

New Infrastructure

Madrid fence for the perimeter of the lot.

New benches for the lot.

Kish Valley Grill for the picnic area.

“Gretchen” benches for the picnic area.
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Our Design
The design is the combination of the wishes of the residents and a previous design effort in our class. We tried to create a place where everyone in the community could enjoy. We have planned for a small community garden to occupy the north part of the plot. This is to ensure that members of the community have an interest in keeping the plot in good order. The garden could also be a future partnership project between the school and the community to educate about the growing process and benefits of a healthy diet.
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Our Design
We designed a picnic area in to the lot. This is a place to meet, and enjoy the company of your neighbors. We included tree cover so that residents will have adequate shade . There will be an abundance of flowers to make the plot colorful and attractive. There is also a grassy area designed for kids to play. Adults will not have to worry about their young running out into the street because of the fence surrounding the plot.
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What Next?
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What would we like to see? Provide money to help the Urban Studies Class students complete the project Provide your help and resources Pass along our proposal to your contacts people you think are interest in our project Recognize West Philadelphia High School students accomplishments and achievements

Current Endorsements
The Enterprise Center Walnut Hill Community Center University of Pennsylvania Students West Philadelphia High School principals The West Philadelphia High School Urban Studies Academy

Urban Studies Class Proposal Crews

Pa r t i c i p a n t s & T h a n k s

Our urban studies class would like to especially thankChancellor Street Residents and Block Captains Jason Custis William Brown The Enterprise Center CDC Mia King The Mural Arts Project Jane Golden University of Pennsylvania Partners Michael Nairn John Puckett Elaine Simon Members of EDUC410/ URBS 327 Fall and Spring Semesters Walnut Hill Community Organization West Philadelphia High School Principal Saliyah Cruz *Any and all people left off this list that helped us along this process.


West Philadelphia High Urban Studies Class

Urban Studies Academy@
West Philadelphia High School 4700 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19139 (215) 471-2902

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