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Old 12-28-2018, 09:50 AM
 
313 posts, read 311,746 times
Reputation: 274

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
I think you're right that the surrounding elements of city neighborhoods are the greater issue/expense, as opposed to the inherent built environment. Adding at least some street trees and/or window planters, replacing sidewalks, and burying utilities would lead to incredible aesthetic improvements in most areas.

There's a huge chunk of Philly that could be Center City-level beautiful/polished due to their bones, but the primary issue is working to enhance and restore the historical features. I'm not talking making every rowhome "faux colonial," because that would be forced and over-the-top like kyb01 is saying.

But if the city were to encourage folks (perhaps starting a new incentive program) to repoint brick, eliminate vinyl/aluminum siding, restore their cornices, etc., perhaps include some unique color accents on doors/cornices, so many more neighborhoods would look stunning. These types of features would be relatively simple to implement.

And I've bashed DC plenty of times, but to its credit it is a city that has really gone a long way to enhance and restore its historical architecture in an appropriate and stunning way, at least in its residential neighborhoods (downtown is a very different story). Definitely a model for Philly to follow, in my book.
I'm all for beautification of city streets, homes, and open spaces. I just see this as a money allotment decision. I have a place in Pennsport near Dickinson Square Park (Tasker and 4th -5th). If anyone is familiar with this area, they will know how a couple million dollar investment from the city literally transformed it. Four years ago, this park was a mess and a haven for shady activities. Now it is a foundation of the neighborhood. Literally hundreds of people flock here every day. I'll personally take this kind of investment over subsidizing brick pointing.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:57 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,020 posts, read 4,645,882 times
Reputation: 2323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
I think you're right that the surrounding elements of city neighborhoods are the greater issue/expense, as opposed to the inherent built environment. Adding at least some street trees and/or window planters, replacing sidewalks, and burying utilities would lead to incredible aesthetic improvements in most areas.

There's a huge chunk of Philly that could be Center City-level beautiful/polished due to their bones, but the primary issue is working to enhance and restore the historical features. I'm not talking making every rowhome "faux colonial," because that would be forced and over-the-top like kyb01 is saying.

But if the city were to encourage folks (perhaps starting a new incentive program) to repoint brick, eliminate vinyl/aluminum siding, restore their cornices, etc., perhaps include some unique color accents on doors/cornices, so many more neighborhoods would look stunning. These types of features would be relatively simple to implement.

And I've bashed DC plenty of times, but to its credit it is a city that has really gone a long way to enhance and restore its historical architecture in an appropriate and stunning way, at least in its residential neighborhoods (downtown is a very different story). Definitely a model for Philly to follow, in my book.
My hope is that the city starts to figure out its priorities and realizes that these rather simple investments could do wonders for several neighborhoods. Sidewalks are another huge one that I forgot about. I think in NYC the city will step in and replace/ repair and then send a bill to the property owner.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,286 posts, read 7,275,735 times
Reputation: 4022
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
I'm all for beautification of city streets, homes, and open spaces. I just see this as a money allotment decision. I have a place in Pennsport near Dickinson Square Park (Tasker and 4th -5th). If anyone is familiar with this area, they will know how a couple million dollar investment from the city literally transformed it. Four years ago, this park was a mess and a haven for shady activities. Now it is a foundation of the neighborhood. Literally hundreds of people flock here every day. I'll personally take this kind of investment over subsidizing brick pointing.
Completely agree with you. In the scheme of things, investments in something like a public park is far more important to the public good. And in a city with so many other social challenges, efforts to beautify residential areas definitely deserves to take a back-seat.

But it may not even have to take the form of grant program that utilizes precious tax dollars, but perhaps even a corporate partnership, or a volunteer task force. There is something to be said for beautification lifting the spirits of folks and encouraging more safety and investment, so I also don't look at it as a zero-sum game if it's implemented the right way.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:04 AM
 
313 posts, read 311,746 times
Reputation: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
Completely agree with you. In the scheme of things, investments in something like a public park is far more important to the public good. And in a city with so many other social challenges, efforts to beautify residential areas definitely deserves to take a back-seat.

But it may not even have to take the form of grant program that utilizes precious tax dollars, but perhaps even a corporate partnership, or a volunteer task force. There is something to be said for beautification lifting the spirits of folks and encouraging more safety and investment, so I also don't look at it as a zero-sum game if it's implemented the right way.
Well, I can certainly see this happening in 10-15 years, but I think the city has more pressing issues in the near-term until we get another couple thousand affluent professionals (i.e. tax payers) and/or some businesses to settle here... Hey, I can only speak for myself, and my places are in good shape, but I'm totally down with adding incremental improvements on them if I can receive some sort of subsidizes. Otherwise, I'm sticking with my plan of a new kitchen in one rental, and a first floor half bath in another. Not trying to be a wise ass BTW because I do agree that the city would benefit from some housing face lifts.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:05 PM
 
Location: New York City
5,020 posts, read 4,645,882 times
Reputation: 2323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennsport View Post
Well, I can certainly see this happening in 10-15 years, but I think the city has more pressing issues in the near-term until we get another couple thousand affluent professionals (i.e. tax payers) and/or some businesses to settle here... Hey, I can only speak for myself, and my places are in good shape, but I'm totally down with adding incremental improvements on them if I can receive some sort of subsidizes. Otherwise, I'm sticking with my plan of a new kitchen in one rental, and a first floor half bath in another. Not trying to be a wise ass BTW because I do agree that the city would benefit from some housing face lifts.
Yes it does, but that doesn't mean council is addressing them. The aesthetic improvements aren't life and death, but I would certainly support those changes over the several other non-pressing issues that council is focused on.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:19 PM
 
8,481 posts, read 4,604,644 times
Reputation: 2837
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post
My hope is that the city starts to figure out its priorities and realizes that these rather simple investments could do wonders for several neighborhoods. Sidewalks are another huge one that I forgot about. I think in NYC the city will step in and replace/ repair and then send a bill to the property owner.

This is already happening. See the post about 4th and Tasker.
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Old 12-28-2018, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Pocopson
97 posts, read 29,369 times
Reputation: 134
The disparity I see on this thread are people simultaneously saying:
  • "I take pride in my house"
  • "I won't improve my house unless somebody else ultimately pays for it (either by subsidies or resale value)"

If the improvement was free, everyone would do it regardless of pride. If you personally can't afford the improvement, that's understandable, but I believe the thread focused-on the richer residents moving-in (on a macro-scale).

In short, if you have the money and the you have the pride, the improvements should be happening. If the improvements aren't happening and you have the money, you must lack the pride.

After further thought, I don't know why I would ever expect the home-flippers to be the ones with pride - they're the only ones who should truly care 100% about dollars-and-cents. The people who should be blamed more than anyone are the yuppies who 1) buy the flipped house without the exterior upgrades and 2) refrain from upgrading the exterior themselves after they buy it.

And finally, the "best house on a bad block" phenomenon should be mentioned. If the entire street has crummy exteriors, and one house gets its exterior upgraded, those improvements will be minimal (less than the cost of the work itself). However, if all the houses upgrade their exteriors, the block suddenly becomes "charming", "up and coming", or whatever other buzz-words realtors use, and the value of all the houses go up substantially (more than the cost of the work itself). This is exactly why the pro-upgraders are focusing on neighborhoods while the anti-upgraders are focusing on individual houses.

Last edited by Patmcpsu; 12-28-2018 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
35 posts, read 16,786 times
Reputation: 37
I think changing buildings to a Colonial style is too difficult given how most row homes are built. Also the Colonial style is very rare in the city. The buildings op showed in Northern Liberties are actually a mix of Victorian and Federal styles, not Colonial. Focusing on returning buildings to their original victorian style or something similar to Federal is much more feasible and can look just as good.

Other poster's pointed out that trees would significantly improve the streetscape. Philadelphia has one of the lowest amounts of tree coverage on the east coast and the entire country. Getting more trees planted would significantly beautify the streetscape and would be affordable.

Buildings built after the Victorian era, such as the one mentioned from 1920s, almost never had the aesthetic properties that are associated with Colonial, Federal, and Victorian styles. Post-victorian buildings probably shouldn't be re-styled because it's pretty much impossible to change them to meet older styles because of their structure and materials.

As long as there isn't a consensus among neighbors to restore or change the style of a block its probably not going to happen. Taking small steps in beautifying a block, such as planting trees, may get more people interested in "upgrading" or restoring the exteriors of their homes. Colonial is certainly a beautiful style but its one of the most expensive, so it would be more feasible to change blocks in ways that already suite the existing structure of the block. Victorian architecture and Federal architecture can be just as beautiful, so restoring a block of those styles may be a more inexpensive way to beautify an area. This is just my opinion and I may be wrong
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:44 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
20,880 posts, read 26,120,196 times
Reputation: 8372
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavePa View Post
Guess there is no reason Society Hill and other Colonial neighborhoods and early 1800s, are highlighted for Philly and gain it get great feedback?

Because it has the a preferred look with green and aspects that add a quaintness that gives it THE PHILLY BEST FOOT FORWARD.

Sorry but my opinion that gentrifying to bare wall of brick ..... doesn't add this for me. Whether 1700s or late 1800s or early 1900s. A plain wall of rows can have options to capture more of the Grandeur and quaintness that its CC neighborhoods give Philly.

There is little modern looking in just sandblasted Brick .... despite gutting the insides to fully contemporary.

I'm not suggesting much more of Philly. But still surprised more that could. Did not go for it. As for more Victorian once wealthier neighborhoods .... or others with more architectural features already to highlight. I'm not talking on them. Just the endless walls of plain rows ..... especially if not broken up. They could get such a more COLONIAL makeover in gentrification.

I understand the defense will always be .... Philly is fine in the choices ITS PEOPLE MAKE. Outsiders do not get that.
If someone wants a tree, they cannot jackhammer the sidewalk and plant it in front of their house. Do you understand that?
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:51 AM
 
6,299 posts, read 6,716,731 times
Reputation: 8768
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavePa View Post
Guess there is no reason Society Hill and other Colonial neighborhoods and early 1800s, are highlighted for Philly and gain it get great feedback?

Because it has the a preferred look with green and aspects that add a quaintness that gives it THE PHILLY BEST FOOT FORWARD.

Sorry but my opinion that gentrifying to bare wall of brick ..... doesn't add this for me. Whether 1700s or late 1800s or early 1900s. A plain wall of rows can have options to capture more of the Grandeur and quaintness that its CC neighborhoods give Philly.
And all of that of course is your opinion which you're entitled too.
But none of what you're talking about is holding and neighborhoods back or has anything to do with people moving there or not.
If people what the kind of exterior esthetic you're talking about there are neighborhoods that have that, where they can get that.

I'm sorry but to me your comments are like me saying the Carolinas should have more "walkable neighborhoods," or wondering why California doesn't have more row houses. Because of how they were founded and developed that's why. Same with Philadelphia. Whatever.
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