Branding and Shooting

This may be the wild Northwest (of Philadelphia) but we’re not ranchers and gunslingers, we’re graphic designers and photographers. Since we last posted, it has been a busy few weeks for the Neighborhood Conservation Kit team.  NCK team member Wynn Geary, an urban farmer and designer who graduated from high school just last month, branded us beautifully with this logo:

neighborhood _conservation_kit_final_draft

The white space is bold and Street Trip loves it. Ready for urban infill!  Meanwhile, out on the range, the NCK effort has expanded to the Wissahickon neighborhood, shown here in a map provided by urban planner Jillian Puleo Dierks. The large parcels to the right are part of the heavily wooded Wissahickon Valley Park (the “Wiss” or “Wissy” in the vernacular).  The yellow area is already within the Wissahickon Watershed Overlay District, important for water quality because the creek joins the Schuylkill River immediately above one of our drinking water intakes.WICA_ALLCompact walkable development patterns like those found in Roxborough are also important for watershed health, as they preserve large swaths of forest and wetland, and, compared to sprawl, reduce impervious pavement area per capita.

If a civic association decides to pursue a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO) to protect its walkable character, every building in the overlay area must be photographed and carefully labeled. Here’s intern surveyor Matt Sawyer photographing in his neighborhood, getting a head start on this big job.


Even if the “civics” don’t end up pursuing NCOs, these surveys are a great way to showcase local architectural precedents, and get to know one’s neighborhood.

Here are some delightful details we found along the way.

Flowers_Rochelle WhiteStoop Brickwork_1 RedDoor

In an upcoming post we’ll look at some beautiful driveways we found. Hard to believe, Harry*, but so is a no-hitter by Cole Hamels in his last start as a Phillie. Forgive us, out-of-towners, we are homers, which is why we strive to be Hall of Fame stewards of neighborhoods.

*Harry Kalas, late beloved Phillies broadcaster, laid to rest in Laurel Hill, the historic cemetery a mile from that red door.


As part of the Neighborhood Conservation Kit training for civic associations, about fifteen of of us Roxborough residents recently walked some of the newly-developed blocks that have been causing the most distress. Our neighbor Addison Geary made this short video of some of the highlights and lowlights. We hope it helps you think about some of the issues confronting our older walkable neighborhoods that are under development pressure. Not surprisingly, much of our discussion revolves around parking, parking, parking.

How are you balancing cars and pedestrians in your neighborhood?


Yesterday we trained the five interns who will help with the photography survey of the Roxborough neighborhoods seeking protection from out-of-context development. Here they are with their cameras and surveyor wheels from Stanley’s Hardware: the Next Gen and the Next Next Gen (Will, 15 months). Urban planning and coding should look ahead 30, 40, 50 years so Will, this code’s for you.


Here’s the street map color-coded for each surveyor. This area is just part of one of Roxborough’s civic associations, Ridge Park, who are working with the Neighborhood Conservation Kit team.


Our surveyors are all from zip code 19128, and there’s no better way to get to know the form of your neighborhood than to document it on the ground. The City of Philadelphia requires any Neighborhood Conservation Overlay to include a photograph of every building in the regulated area, so that’s a lot of documenting.

If you see any of this gang out there photographing, tell them what kind of development you want to protect and encourage on your block. And contact the Central Roxborough Civic Association for more information.


hiatus Drug-user slang: When several friends are sitting in a circle, passing a pipe, and one user holds the pipe and tells us stories instead of fulfilling his obligation by smoking/passing. HIATUS: Holding It And Telling Us Stories.

We’re back. Hoping to hold you and tell you stories.

It has been awhile. Two years? The blogging platform that shall remain nameless went out of business and left me with numerous folders of Street Trip archives but no blog. Sorry it took me two years to put it back on another platform. Thought I’d wait and see if this WordPress thing was for real.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in the meantime, in a tweet: Took to the #Schuylkill River, that flowing Pennsylvania road trip. Walked to the Wissahickon woods, T4 to T1 on the #Rural-to-Urban Transect. Joined the Project for #Lean Urbanism (Making Small Possible) and the #Fairmount Water Works watershed education team. Had appendix out, followed a woodpecker family, saw #Phillies crash and burn without benefit of Sargisms.

OK, that’s four tweets. Never mind, if I just wanted to tweet, would I have a blog?

So there’s more. Please check in later for an invitation to an environmental art exhibition, and an interesting open-source project to protect our walkable Philadelphia neighborhood from the likes of thissssssssss: