Friday, July 22, 2016

How Philadelphia transformed an abandoned naval base

How did Philadelphia successfully transform a 1200-acre former naval base into a mixed-use district that some are calling a second Center City? That's the topic of my latest installment of Politico's "What Works" series on successful urban innovations. Twenty-one years after it closed, the former Philadelphia Navy Yard complex -- which once included the largest naval shipyard on the planet, a naval seaplane factory, a naval air station, and, in 1944, a top secret Manhattan Project lab -- is now a hive of commercial, industrial, recreational, and academic activity, and the next phase intends to bring residential as well.

Attending the Democratic National Convention this coming week? The convention site is not a mile away from the Navy Yard gates.

This is my fifth full-length "What Works" piece this year. The others were on how Des Moines went from dull to cool; how Manchester, New Hampshire turned its vast 19th century millyard to spinning high-tech gold; on how Denver built its game-changing light rail system, only to discover its most powerful effects were not what they'd expected; and on how Cincinnati transformed "America's most dangerous neighborhood." In addition, last week -- on the occasion of the Republican National Convention -- I had this shorter story on how Cleveland revamped its long-neglected Public Square.

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