Weitzman News

Posted March 3, 2016

'The Pennsylvania Gazette' on Historic Preservation's Sharswood Studio

From The Pennsylvania Gazette:

“We never wanted to end up with a document that would just sit on a shelf,” says Andrew Cushing. Last fall, he and eight other master’s students from the graduate program in historic preservation devoted a semester-long studio to forming a plan to revitalize a neighborhood few Philadelphians would recognize as historically significant—and many might struggle to recognize at all.

Sharswood, a roughly square-mile section of Lower North Philadelphia plagued by poverty, vacancy, and crime, is a place with an uncertain fate. Approximately 85 percent of its current 5,800 residents are African-American, and the neighborhood’s median household income of $15,454 is less than half that of the city overall. Still, with property values surging all around them—in areas like Brewerytown to the west and Temple University to the east—market pressures and gentrification are bound to arrive. Meanwhile, the neighborhood sits in the crosshairs of a controversial 10-year, $500 million redevelopment initiative by the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) that involves the use of eminent domain.

After attending a PHA presentation outlining the agency’s plan, Randall Mason, an associate professor and chair of the historic-preservation program, sensed an opportunity.

Read the full story on thepenngazette.com.