Neighborhood Conservation Kit

The Neighborhood Conservation Kit (NCK) is a civic engagement project in partnership with the Central Roxborough Civic Association and an expanding NCK Team of Roxborough neighbors.  What is Roxborough, you ask?  Roxborough is uphill from Manayunk and is huge, made variably of funky urban or suburban and even rural patterns, a large small town in a city,CentralRox_NeighborGathering_WalkableFrontages_Sorlien_Hi nearly 6 square miles and 30,000 residents in Northwest Philadelphia. Our main street is “da Ridge.”  Our park is Gorgas (and a bunch of smaller ones, and half the Wissahickon).  Our cheesesteak is Lennie’s. (OK, we can argue about that, so sue me Dalessandro’s and Chubby’s.)

The NCK project won a 2015 Knight Cities Challenge award from  the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (Thank you!) We are setting out to create templates and teach residents to create their own Neighborhood Conservation Overlays, which are short, locally-calibrated additions to the Philadelphia Zoning Code. The purpose is to protect local character and walkability.

Central Roxborough (pictured) got one of these local codes adopted in 2014, using volunteer labor and expertise from the neighborhood and advice from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Now, other civic associations are asking for our help. Updates on our progress will be posted on the home page throughout the summer and fall, as will the NCK itself.  Stay tuned.


14 thoughts on “Neighborhood Conservation Kit

  1. I love the photo of the sidewalk picnic on Ripka Street! That has always been one of my favorite blocks in Roxborough! Thank you for all the great work you are all doing to conserve our walkable neighborhood!


    1. Thanks Angie! I should say that is not the NCK team hogging the sidewalk, we would never put up barriers to walkability! Ha. But we would often join those fine folks for a beer on Fridays…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks M! Two of the NCK team are off to Detroit at the crack of dawn tomorrow to meet the other 31 winning teams. Should be a blast. They have a great bowling alley on Woodward.


  2. Hello neighbors! I’m a member of a new RCO in East Falls focused on business and community development. Love your video and the idea of creating a neighborhood conservation overlay for the Falls. What’s the best way to begin creating such an overlay?

    I’d also love to speak with someone about how you organized your neighborhood tour. We think our neighbors would enjoy walking the Falls and Roxborough to see various types of construction in order to gain a better understanding of what would work best for our neighborhood. Thank you Steve Fillmore PS We also run a neighborhood newspaper/blog (


    1. Hi Steve, I would be happy to lead or help you organize a walkaround in East Falls. We can also make the NCK available to you later this week. You will want to decide what contiguous area to regulate, and it is best to coordinate the various overlays (Rox and EF) so the Planning Commission isn’t dealing with a whole bunch of different codes. While every neighborhood has its own characteristics, we are finding that all good walkable Philly neighborhoods have some basic patterns in common, so a model or template can work for more than one. I’m traveling now but will touch base with you mid-week. – Sandy and the NCK Team


  3. Yay Sandy! Thank you very much. This is just what we were hoping for. We’re happy to work together in any way possible. Please do circle back when you get a moment. Our RCO’s vice president is an architect and we also have a neighborhood planner (and executive director of the EF Development Corp) who would love to get involved as well. Look forward to meeting you. Steve


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