Local Host Sessions and Mobile Tours


On behalf of the PennDesign Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Rutgers-Bloustein School Dean James Hughes, and Temple School of Environmental Design Dean Teresa Soufas, welcome to the 54th Annual Conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. Thanks to the hard work of Professor Rayman Mohammed and Donna Dodd and the entire ACSP conference planning team, we think you will find the conference to be a wonderful combination of interesting and provocative sessions, opportunities to exchange research and teaching ideas, and friendly social events. 

The theme of this year’s conference is “Big Ideas, Global Impacts.” Philadelphia was the backdrop for the crafting of two of the most far-reaching documents in history, the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, so with apologies to Virginians Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, we here in Philadelphia like to believe that thinking big is in our genes. But thinking big in the 21st Century means thinking globally, and this year’s ACSP conference will include an unprecedented number of international speakers and globally-oriented sessions. New this year, in addition to traditional paper sessions, panels, and roundtables are four “Big Ideas” sessions focusing on cutting-edge topics of global interest. Each Big Ideas session will include two invited speakers and two prominent commentators drawn from ACSP-member schools. The four Big Ideas sessions are: (1) The New  Global Transit Metropolis, Thursday, 1:00–2:30 pm; (2) Planners and Climate Change: Implications of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment and the National Climate Assessment, Friday, 9:45-11:15 am; (3) The Future of Detroit, Saturday, 11 am – 12:15 pm; and, (4) Designing the Public Realm in Asian Mega-cities, Saturday, 4:30-6:00 pm. These are just four out of more than 200 conference sessions which promise to be informational and provocative. Consult the full program for more details on the full range of sessions.

This is not ACSP’s first time in Philadelphia, and a lot has changed in the City of Brotherly Love since ACSP’s last Philadelphia conference in 1993. The Philadelphia region is increasingly taking advantage of its location smack dab in the middle of the Northeast corridor, the only part of North America where rail competes well with regional air travel. The City of Philadelphia is again growing, having added new population for the first time since 1950. The food and restaurant scene, which used to specialize in pizzas and cheese steaks, is now one of America’s most innovative and vibrant; and the ACSP conference hotel is right in the middle of it.  One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that many Philadelphia restaurants are still BYOB—bring your own bottle—so call ahead to see if you’re intended eating place serves wine. The Philadelphia Navy Yard, which fully and finally closed in 2000, has been reinvented as what may be America’s foremost in-town research and Development Park. The Philadelphia Water Department is leading the charge to retrofit the city with green infrastructure through an innovative program that rewards urban property owners and neighborhoods for removing impermeable surfaces.  On the west side of Center City, a ribbon of walking paths and bikeways now line the old and industrial Schuylkill River, and on the east side, along the Delaware River, a new University of Pennsylvania/PennPraxis-conceived planning process is guiding the redevelopment of that historic-but-under-utilized waterfront. In 2011, the City of Philadelphia redid its comprehensive plan and 40-year old zoning ordinance to help neighborhoods, residents, and developers complete the transition from an early 20th-century industrial city into a diverse 21st –century mixed-use city. Many of these planning success stories will be explored in conference and mobile workshop sessions. 

Even after 300-plus years, Philadelphia is still a work in progress, and the regional planning agenda remains a big one. The demand for transit is up, but the region’s transportation funding system remains fragmented and under hostile state control. With accelerating neighborhood change comes the specter of gentrification. Poverty and joblessness remain crushing problems in too many inner city neighborhoods. Suffering from declining enrollment and a preference for smaller charter schools, the city has had to shutter 30 public schools. Across the Delaware River in New Jersey, there are more solar panels installed than in any state except much-larger California, even as cities like Camden struggle to repurpose themselves amidst high poverty and declining public revenues. Nearby Atlantic City just watched four of its twelve casinos—which provide about one-third of the city’s jobs—shut their doors for good. With its mixture of planning progress and challenges, Philadelphia is a truly American city-region, and one that can offer lessons to other global cities, as well as learn from them.

Above all, Philadelphia is a city for walkers, so be sure to leave some time to walk two blocks west to Philadelphia’s iconic City Hall and brand new Dilworth Park. Or go east to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (Did you know that the Liberty Bell was known as the Independence Bell until the 1840s?)  Or take a stroll up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a stop at the New Barnes Museum followed by a run up the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Or, head a few blocks southeast to South Street for some 1960s bell-bottoms and a tattoo. We’ll do our best with the powers that be to keep a bit of Philadelphia’s wonderful fall foliage still on the trees. Wherever you go, you’ll find Philadelphia to be the real deal.

As co-chairs of the Local Host Committee, we are honored to host the 54th ACSP Conference, and we are committed to making your four days in Philadelphia as professionally interesting and personally memorable as can be.

John D. Landis, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania
Robert Burchell and Clinton Andrews, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
Deborah Howe, Department of Community and Regional Planning, Temple-Amber University

Mobile Tours, Friday, October 31 (current as of 10.08.14)

TOUR #1 - The Real Boardwalk Empire: Atlantic City Then & Now, full day motor coach workshop; 9:00am departure from the 12th Street Exit of the hotel

Tour Leader: HOLCOMB, Briavel [Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey] briavel.holcomb@rutgers.edu

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; 9:00am departure from the 12th Street Exit of the hotel

Tour Leader: BURCHELL, Robert [Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey] burchell@rci.rutgers.edu

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; 1:30pm departure from the Millennium Foyer of the hotel

Tour Leader: KEENE, John [University of Pennsylvania] keenej@design.upenn.edu

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 2 ½ hour mobile workshop will travel to Barnes and have an opportunity to view the Foundation’s extraordinary painting collection.

TOUR #4 -SOLD OUT! Camden in the 21st Century: Successes, Failures, Challenges, afternoon motor coach workshop; 1:30pm departure from the 12th Street Exit of the hotel

Tour Leader: NELESSEN, Tony [Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey] nelessen@rutgers.edu

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; 1:30pm departure from the 12th Street Exit of the hotel

Tour Leader: tba

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; 1:30pm meet in the Commonwealth A1 Room

Tour Leader: LANDIS, John [University of Pennsylvania] jlan@design.upenn.edu

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 - SOLD OUT! Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture, afternoon motor coach workshop; 1:30pm departure from the 12th Street Exit of the hotel

Tour Leader: VITIELLO, Domenic [University of Pennsylvania] vitiello@design.upenn.edu; and Amy Laura Cahn from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia

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; 1:30pm departure from the Millennium Foyer of the hotel

Tour Leader: HOWE, Deborah [Temple University] dhowe@temple.edu; and a representative from the Mural Arts Foundation

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 2 ½ hour afternoon walking mobile workshop will meet with Mural Arts staff to discuss the role of public art in community development and then take a walking tour of central Philadelphia to see the murals themselves and understand how they are designed and created.

TOUR #9 - SOLD OUT! Renewing a Legacy Public Transit System – Visit to SEPTA, afternoon walking tour ; 1:30pm departure from the Millennium Foyer of the hotel

Tour Leader: GUERRA, Erick [University of Pennsylvania] erickg@design.upenn.edu

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 - SOLD OUT! The Philadelphia Water Department – Green Infrastructure Program, afternoon walking tour; 1:30pm meet in the Commonwealth B Room

Tour Leader: BROWN, Drew [Philadelphia Water Department] drew.brown@phila.gov

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 - SOLD OUT! Redevelopment and Gentrification in Philadelphia’s Center City, afternoon walking tour; 1:30pm departure from the Millennium Foyer of the hotel

Tour Leader: FAMMON, Francesca [University of Pennsylvania] fammon@design.upenn.edu; and David Kanthor of the Center City District

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 - SOLD OUT! Redevelopment and Gentrification in West Philadelphia, afternoon walking tour; 1:30pm departure from the Millennium Foyer of the hotel

Tour Leader: WOLF POWERS, Laura [University of Pennsylvania] lwpowers@design.upenn.edu; and Andrew Zitcer of Drexel University

In the late 20th Century, many stable West Philadelphia communities experienced population loss and disinvestment. Despite the success of churches and other institutions in creating housing and maintaining community ties – and despite positive changes catalyzed by the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership in the 1990s and 2000s – parts of University City continue to be distressed.  A variety of actors has now initiated projects that promise to augment Penn’s well-known West Philadelphia Initiatives. Drexel University is making substantial investments including an Innovation District on the site of a shuttered public high school. Federal community development programs have targeted the neighborhood. Local groups are pursuing infill housing development, stabilization of existing housing stock, and economic mobility for the incumbent population. But the prospect of gentrification continues to generate anxiety. This afternoon walking mobile workshop, led by UPenn’s Laura Wolf-Powers and Drexel’s Andrew Zitcer, centers on how multiple constituencies are anticipating, interpreting, and representing physical and cultural change at a pivotal moment. The tour features conversations with the director of a local cultural organization, a planner at an established CDC, and Drexel’s Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships.

About Our Local Host 

About the University of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1950, the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania (PennPlanning) is one of the nation’s oldest academic planning programs.  Organized around a strong core curriculum that balances basic knowledge with professional practice and cutting-edge technical skills, the MCP program includes six concentrations (Community and Economic Development, Land Use and Environmental Planning, Public-Private Development, Smart Cities, Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning, and Urban Design) as well as provides students with access to nine multi-department certificate programs.  Practice and problem-solving studios are a core feature of a PennPlanning education, and recent MCP studios have developed detailed feasibility studies and development proposals for high-speed rail service in the Northeast Corridor; reuse plans for six freeway teardown projects across North America; repurposing plans for Olympic Sites in Beijing and Rio de Janeiro; forward-looking resiliency plans for the New Jersey shore devastated by Super storm Sandy in 2012; and new concepts for social housing projects and programs around the world.  Penn’s Planning PhD program is administered by a separate Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning comprised of PennPlanning and related faculty. Together with Architecture, Fine Arts, Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Spatial Analytics, PennPlanning is one of six graduate degree programs that comprise the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.

About Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy has provided over two decades of academic excellence and service to the public and private sectors of the state, region, and nation and is committed to a rebirth of the public service ethic in the United States. A nexus of planning, public policy, and public health, it brings together three core disciplines in a unique and multidisciplinary manner while promoting systematic thinking and innovative problem solving aimed at some of society’s most complex and challenging problems. The Bloustein School brings these areas together in a culture that promotes strong research, teaching, public service, and collaboration.

The school supports a wide variety of educational activities, from undergraduate and master’s and doctoral degree programs to continuing education courses and conferences for professionals and alumni. The graduate urban planning program is ranked third in the nation by Planetizen and is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and the Planning Accreditation Board.

The Program in Urban Planning has been awarding professional master's degrees for 40 years. The two-year Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) degree prepares students for practice in planning, policy analysis, and program development through a curriculum designed to develop in the student an understanding of the linkages between the social, economic, and political factors of urban society and the physical and environmental framework of regions and communities. The one-year Master of City and Regional Studies (MCRS) program is open to individuals who hold advanced degrees in other disciplines and wish to develop special auxiliary knowledge in planning, or who are international practicing planners with extensive professional experience. In addition, the school offers dual degrees in law, business administration, infrastructure planning, public policy, and food and business economics.

Five issue-oriented concentrations reflect the strengths of the faculty in the urban planning and policy development program, including Environmental and Physical Planning, Housing and Real Estate, International Development and Regional Planning, Transportation Policy and Planning, and Urban and Community Development. The program concentrations are intended to help students develop a program of study that will help them fulfill their individual career goals.

Allied with Urban Planning and Policy Development is the school-wide Ph.D. program, which focuses on the preparation of planning-focused scholars who will teach and conduct research. 

About Temple University

Temple University’s Department of Community and Regional Planning (CRP) in the School of Environmental Design (SED) is honored to serve as co-host for the 2014 ACSP conference.  The CRP Department offers an undergraduate program in Community Development along with various minors such as Sustainable Food Systems Planning and Ecological Planning and Development (http://www.temple.edu/ambler/crp/).  Our MS in Community and Regional Planning has an explicit focus on ecological planning and advanced computer applications with optional concentrations in Sustainable Community Planning and Transportation Planning.  CRP faculty conduct storm water management, community development and policy innovation research through the SED’s Center for Sustainable Communities; this externally funded research supports graduate students as Research Assistants enabling them to fund their studies and learn invaluable skills. 

Our Department is based at Temple’s Ambler campus.  The planning program is made available on the university’s Harrisburg and Center City campuses via video conferencing.  The undergraduate degree can be completed either at the Ambler or the Center City/Main campuses. 

Having been founded in 2002, we are still a young program, but our students are realizing notable success including numerous awards for studio projects and individual papers.  We are proud of our three Presidential Management Fellows who have secured federal appointments in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Forest Service.