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Cover Story: A Natural Fit

The ultimate vision of an eco-friendly and educational urban oasisby Natalie Hope McDonaldThe sounds along Lancaster Ave. in West Philadelphia’s Overbrook neighborhood don’t usually include chirping. But on one overcast day in May, across the street from the U-Haul rental center and footsteps from a fruit and vegetable bodega, a small red-breasted bird whistled over

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9 mins read
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Feature: Food Desert

North Philly still lacks fresh food accessby Tenaya DarlingtonKensington, one of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods, has undergone significant revitalization over the last few years, especially along the southern corridor that borders Northern Liberties. You’ll now find a coffee shop, a Spanish imports store and even a sustainable fish merchant amid the tattoo parlors and check cashing

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5 mins read
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A Trip Down Girard Avenue

In a city as old and strange as Philly, there’s some history in every 100-plus-year-old brick rowhome and tiny colonial alley. While it’s fun to make up stories about what happened where (I like to think that my block was where Ben Franklin invented freedom soda), it’s also great to know the actual history and

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1 min read
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Power Plants

The Philadelphia Orchard Project is harvesting edible agriculture one vacant lot at a timeby Natalie Hope McDonaldFrom Kensington’s Cambria Orchard to Chester Avenue’s Squirrel Hill and the Martin Luther King High School Farm on West Oak Lane, fresh fruits and vegetables are being harvested in once-vacant, crime-ridden lots. It’s all part of a massive nutrition

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4 mins read
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Cover Story: Hold Your Turf

How Haddington used guerrilla gardening to transform its vacant lots, and why the city should encourage everyone to do the sameby Haley LoramSomeone left a busted couch at the edge of the Conestoga Children’s Garden, directly under the “No Dumping” sign. Skip Wiener, who tends to the network of gardens in the West Philly neighborhood

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8 mins read
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Environmental Effects

Patients as Person, City as Healer?by Nathaniel PopkinIn the earliest days of the Center for Community Partnerships at Penn, a project I was a part of for a few years in the mid-’90s, we considered (but never executed) a “misery/happiness index” for West Philadelphia. The index was an idea of the historian Lee Benson, the

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3 mins read
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Free Flow

An abandoned building becomes a hub for social activism in West Philadelphiaby Natalie Hope McDonaldJust off the Number 10 Green Line, west of the sprawling Penn and Drexel campuses and trendy restaurants, past the tiny street corner bodegas and dimly lit bars, a group of aspiring social activists saw something special in an abandoned building

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2 mins read
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Transitioning Town

North Philly changes before our eyes by Will Dean with additional reporting by Dana Henry When you think about a sustainable city, what does it look like? Whether it’s a futuristic, shiny sci-fi wonderland or a green treehouse-like Ewok village, you probably don’t think of North Philly. With it’s abandoned industrial buildings and bad

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11 mins read
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Girl’s Best Friend

Around 3 p.m., the girls trickle through the front door of a former upholstery shop. From public and private schools in Germantown, Mount Airy and beyond, they arrive in pleated skirts and blue jeans. Yvonne Haughton welcomes each by name as they shed jackets and knapsacks before helping themselves to pudding and hot chocolate.

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2 mins read