Local Host Sessions and Mobile Tours


Local Host Sessions

Mobile Tours, Friday Afternoon, October 31 (current as of 09.24.14)

TOUR #1 - The Real Boardwalk Empire: Atlantic City Then & Now, full day motor coach workshop, cost $75, capacity 40 people
Famous for its boardwalk, beaches, the Miss America pageant, and now the HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire, Atlantic City has always had a complicated relationship with leisure and vice. The legalization of casino gambling in Atlantic City in 1976 was supposed to save this resort city on the Jersey Shore. And it did for a while. But as other Mid-Atlantic States, especially Pennsylvania, have opened themselves up to gaming, Atlantic City has seen its tourist and gaming revenues decline, and the city and state are now exploring new economic development strategies. Five casinos have closed in the city this year...including the $2.3 billion, two year old, Revel. As of the time of writing, the leading contender to purchase the bankrupt Revel plans to establish a global university in it to attract students from over the world and study problems like nuclear waste. Meanwhile the city is losing millions of dollars of property taxes...about a third of its total annual revenue. We will meet with local officials, casino industry representatives, and Stockton College academics to discuss alternative futures. We will explore the city by bus and walk the boardwalk in this full-day mobile workshop of Atlantic City.

TOUR #2 - Superstorm Sandy Recovery – Visit to Jersey Shore Communities, full day motor coach workshop, cost $75, capacity 40 people
Classified as the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Brigantine along the Jersey Shore on October 29, 2012. In New Jersey alone, more than two million households lost power, 346,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and 37 people were killed; total damage was estimated at $30B. Two years later, the Jersey Shore is mostly rebuilt, but in a manner that many critics warn will not adequately protect it from future inevitable storms like Sandy. Participants in this full-day mobile workshop will tour several hard-hit communities along the Jersey shore to investigate recent recovery and rebuilding efforts, as well as meet with local, state, and federal officials to explore what went right and wrong in the preparation, recovery and rebuilding process with the goal of learning from New Jersey’s experiences and preparing for future such events there and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.

TOUR #3 - Barnes Foundation Building, Grounds, and Collection Tour, afternoon motor coach workshop, cost $45, capacity 30 people
Having relocated in 2012 from suburban Lower Merion to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City Philadelphia, The Barnes Foundation (established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922)  holds one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive works by Renoir, Cézanne, and Matisse). Recreated in its original interior form but in a strikingly modern building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the new Barnes also serves as a renewed tourist and pedestrian anchor for Center City Philadelphia. Participants in this afternoon mobile workshop will travel to Barnes, meet with museum officials to discuss the design of the building and its controversial move from Lower Merion, and have an opportunity to view the Foundation’s extraordinary painting collection.

TOUR #4 - Camden in the 21st Century: Successes, Failures, Challenges, afternoon motor coach workshop, cost $25, SOLD OUT
Right across the Delaware River from Philadelphia,  Camden, NJ  is one of the poorest cities in the country; despite a plethora of planning and redevelopment schemes and projects, the city continues to face severe economic development, fiscal, public service, and neighborhood challenges.  Participants in this afternoon mobile workshop will tour Camden by bus, and meet with city officials and community leaders for a series of presentations and discussions about planning options for distressed communities. 

TOUR #5 - A Tale of Two Riverfronts – The Schuylkill and the Delaware, afternoon motor coach workshop, cost $25, capacity 40 people
Philadelphia sits squarely between two major rivers, the Delaware and the Schuylkill, both of which have rich industrial and port histories, and both of which are being actively remade and redeveloped for a modern post-industrial city.  Participants in this afternoon mobile workshop will tour both waterfronts by bus and foot, and meet with the planners, developers, and community representatives who have taken the lead in planning and redeveloping the two waterfronts.

TOUR #6 - Philadelphia Navy Yard Redevelopment, afternoon motor coach workshop, cost $25, caacity 40 people
Founded in 1776, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was the country’s first naval facility. Located two miles south of Center City at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, the Navy Yard was an active shipyard until its closure in 1995. Today, The Navy Yard is a thriving 1,200 acre business campus with 143 companies occupying more than 6.5 million square feet of office, industrial/manufacturing, and research and development space, and one of only a handful of examples of successful urban military base reuse. In its new form, owned and managed by the quasi-public Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), the Navy Yard has reemerged as one of the Philadelphia region’s most important innovation and employment centers—home to companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Urban Outfitters, and U.S. DOE’s Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. Participants in this afternoon mobile workshop will tour the Navy Yard and meet with PIDC leadership to explore how this public sector-enabled/market-based transformation has taken place, and to learn about its future as a mixed-used community

TOUR #7 - Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture, afternoon motor coach workshop, cost $25, capacity 40 people
Philadelphia is home to one of the nation’s most active and diverse community gardening and urban farming sectors, despite a policy and planning environment that has posed major challenges for agriculture in the city. This afternoon  mobile workshop, led by Penn Professor Domenic Vitiello with Amy Laura Cahn from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia's Garden Justice Legal Initiative, will travel by bus and on foot to visit with gardeners and farmers in West and Southwest Philadelphia. We will see different forms of urban agriculture - from homesteading to large-scale allotment gardening to a variety of farm- and garden-based community programs - and explore the ways that practitioners and advocates are addressing issues of land tenure, zoning, redevelopment, and other planning challenges and opportunities.

TOUR #8 - Center City Mural Arts Walking Tour, afternoon walking workshop, cost $25, capacity 25 people
Currently celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program was started by Jane Golden in 1984 as a component of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network.  To date, the program has produced over 3,600 murals in every corner of the city. Mural Arts is about more than just painting the sides of buildings: it empowers artists to be change agents, stimulates dialogue about critical issues, and builds bridges of connection and understanding. Participants in this afternoon walking mobile workshop will meet with Mural Arts staff to discuss the role of public art in community development, and then take one of two walking tours of central Philadelphia to see the murals themselves and understand how they are designed and created.

TOUR #9 - Renewing a Legacy Public Transit System – Visit to SEPTA, afternoon walking tour, cost $25, SOLD OUT
The Philadelphia region is extremely well-served by bus and rail transit service, and much of the credit goes to SEPTA, the Southeast Pennsylvania Public Transit Agency.  SEPTA is the nation’s 6th-largest U.S. rapid transit system by ridership, and the 5th largest in terms of trips served. It operates 290 rail and trolley stations, over 450 miles of track, revenue vehicles, and 196 routes. But like most long-standing urban transit agencies, SEPTA also faces continuing challenges, including modernizing its vehicle fleet, funding shortfalls from the state,  connecting transit service to urban development through TOD and joint development initiatives, and transitioning to a more customer-responsive and technology-driven culture. Participants in this afternoon walking mobile workshop will tour SEPTA’s headquarters and operations center, and meet with top SEPTA officials and planners to discuss how SEPTA is facing these challenges.

TOUR #10 - The Philadelphia Water Department – Green Infrastructure Program, afternoon walking tour, cost $25, SOLD OUT
Philadelphia’s Water Department (PWD) is the nation’s leader is planning and promoting green infrastructure as a partial alternative to building large new sewer treatment facilities. Participants in this afternoon walking mobile workshop will meet with PWD leadership and planning staff to learn how PWD’s innovative green infrastructure initiatives are working, and about the challenges of using market-based incentives and web-based information systems to get commercial, residential, and public sector property owners to green their properties and reduce storm water runoff. 

TOUR #11 - Redevelopment and Gentrification in Philadelphia’s Center City, afternoon walking tour, cost $25, SOLD OUT
Given up for dead in the late 1980s, Philadelphia’s Central City area (bounded by  the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers to the east and west, and Spring Garden and South Streets  to the north and south) is enjoying a residential and economic redevelopment renaissance—largely due to the continuing efforts of the Central City District (CCD), a business improvement district. Participants in this afternoon walking mobile workshop will tour Central City by foot and meet with CCD, city planning, and community leaders to explore CCD’s ever-evolving approach to center city redevelopment and investment, as well as discuss issues of gentrification, uneven development, and income and demographic diversity. 

TOUR #12 - Redevelopment and Gentrification in West Philadelphia, afternoon walking tour, cost $25, SOLD OUT
After a University of Pennsylvania student was murdered in 1996, Penn President Judith Rodin led the University on a ten-year effort to revitalize West Philadelphia. Anchored by a university-built public school, programs to encourage homeownership, commercial and residential development partnerships, and efforts to improve public safety, Penn’s leadership produced remarkable results—which still continue, and are being augmented by similar efforts by nearby Drexel University. Not everyone is quite so pleased, however: rising rents and home prices continue to displace many long-time residents, spawning a new local term, “Penn-trification.” Participants in this afternoon walking mobile workshop will travel to West Philadelphia to meet with Penn and Drexel officials, as well as representatives from community groups and non-profits to review this progression and for a candid discussion of the roles and responsibilities of urban anchor institutions. 

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