Featured Series

The 2015 primary season may be a slow motion horserace, but it’s also the season for fresh ideas and we’re excited to air some of them out here. For many Philadelphians this year’s election will hinge on huge questions like the state of our public education system. But the next mayor and the next City Council will have to tackle more than schools. This election is also about what kind of city we want to be. What will it take to make Philadelphia a well-planned, more equitable and livable city? Where do the 2015 crop of candidates stand on our core issues, like transportation, public space, planning, sustainability and preservation? 

For our spring 2016 series we're bringing you design postcards from around Philly. Thousands of architects are coming to the city in May for the national AIA convention. So we're asking Philadelphia architects to take us to their favorite underappreciated or misunderstood buildings in the city, and explain what makes them great. 

Series supported by the Center for Architecture and Design.

As the complex new zoning code is finalized by the ZCC before going to City Council this fall, PlanPhilly will analyze key components of the reform in this digestible new series. Nick Gilewicz's stories will tell readers what the code says and how it says it, what the draft identifies as different and new, and in very general terms, what those new things could mean.

In the coming months, PlanPhilly will publish a series of reports on the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha and its role in Eastern North Philadelphia’s revival. Among other topics, the stories will cover the experiences of the area’s residents, the politics and racial dynamics of urban recovery, the design and architecture of low-income developments, and the massive investment of taxpayer funds that enabled the neighborhood’s transformation. The writing, video and photography that comprised this series is made possible by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.


Reporting: Patrick Kerkstra

Photography and video: Neal Santos

Art direction and interactive: Brian James Kirk

Editing: Matt Golas

This landing page is the place to keep up with the Philadelphia School District's facilities master planning process. The School District is compiling a comprehensive facilities master plan designed to "right-size" its physical plant. The goal is to maximize educational availability, quality, and equity, which will involve closing, consolidating, and selling schools. Decisions on how to manage this process call for wide community dialogue and close collaboration between the School District and city government. The The Philadelphia Public School Notebook is partnering with PlanPhilly to cover this process and inform and help foster that dialogue. This coverage is supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

In partnership with NewsWorks — WHYY's new hyperlocal news site covering Northwest Philadelphia — PlanPhilly's Amy Z. Quinn will cover planning, design and development issues in Chestnut Hill, East Falls, Germantown, Manayunk, Mt. Airy, Roxborough, Stenton/Ivy Hill and West Oak Lane.


NewsWorks is the online home of WHYY News and its growing network of journalism partners. This public media service covers the Philadelphia region, Delaware and South Jersey, with a focus on regional issues, neighborhoods, health and science, and arts. It's a site powered by your concerns, questions, views, insights and stories.

Part 1: The staggering true costs of Philadelphia’s tax delinquency epidemic.
Part 2: Who’s to blame? The delinquents, and the neighborhoods they damage.
Part 3: Enabling deadbeats. The city’s failings, and some potential fixes. 
Part 4: Best practices and some possible solutions 

About this project: For this effort between the Philadelphia InquirerPlanPhilly and AxisPhilly, Patrick Kerkstra interviewed property owners, city officials and redevelopment experts and analyzed millions of property, delinquency, billing and code violation records. The reporting was complemented by an economic analysis of delinquency’s impact on property values by Kevin Gillen. The project was made possible through funding by the William Penn Foundation. Contributors include AxisPhilly's news application editor, Casey Thomas, PlanPhilly journalists Jared Brey and Ashley Hahn, researchers Evan Croen, James Robertson and John Dailey and designer John Suvannavejh.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) has embarked on a sweeping, half-billion dollar plan to replace its aged Norman Blumberg Apartments complex and remake a substantial portion of the surrounding Sharswood neighborhood, a section of North Philly just north of Girard College. NewsWorks and PlanPhilly reporters are producing a series on Sharswood that will trace the history of the Blumberg site, PHA’s evolving plans for Sharswood, and stories from the neighborhood as its promised transformation begins.

On March 19, 2016, PHA imploded two of the towers at the Norman Blumberg Apartments, a 1960s public housing complex on an eight-acre site comprised of three towers and 15 low-rise buildings. In razing Blumberg, the authority is making good on a long-standing promise to improve the state of public housing in this corner of North Philly. It will mark the beginning of the authority’s most ambitious project ever, promising not only to replace the aging housing complex but remake its neighborhood too.


"The Abandoned City" series was developed through a partnership between City Paper, PlanPhilly and Technically Philly, and funded in part by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism.

This report is the result of a collaborative effort between the Philadelphia Inquirer and PlanPhilly. The project was made possible by a competitive award funded by the William Penn Foundation and awarded by J-Lab, a division of the School of Communication at American University. All records of tax delinquencies and sheriff sales were obtained from the City of Philadelphia through right to know requests. The aggregate property tax figures cited in this report reflect outstanding debts to the city as of April 30, 2011.

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