Paul Glover is on a mission. Logan Triangle, the 40-acre wasteland bounded by Wingohocking, Louden, 11th Street, and Roosevelt Blvd, is a grid of crumbling streets that travel through 40 acres of empty lots, doomed since the 1980's. But, Glover, says, this could someday be 40 acres of parkland, a veritable peaceable kingdom of gardens, sculptures, and tiny homes that would sit lightly on the sunken earth. He just has to get through the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority first, which happens to own the land.
The Tiny House movement hasn't quite gained momentum in Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Tiny House and Co-housing Community Development Meetup group, a recent initiative to "get serious about forming the Locust Avenue Tiny House Community" was met with lukewarm interest, some citing crime stats in the area as indication the group of like-minded individuals should look elsewhere to develop Philadelphia's first tiny home community. Glover may have a solution: a vision he calls Logan Orchard and Market (LOAM).
Glover's redevelopment concept for the land includes a free "Patch Adams" clinic (a long-held dream of his), recreational facilities, gardens, open space, and "tiny houses," all linked by permeable pathways and extensive mosaic and sculpture gardens. "Beauty would be a prime theme with this development," Glover has quoted to Philly Mag.
The thing is, Glover doesn't own the property, and neither do his supporters in the community. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority owns the land, and has since 2012. The PRA's vision for the land differs vastly: it calls for denser residential construction with a shopping district. At a community meeting on July 13th, PRA representative Pei-lin Chen and Shoshana Burke, a representative from Councilwoman Cindy Bass's office withheld the name of the developer the PRA has in mind for the job. Via Philly Mag's Sandy Smith, "The flat refusal to disclose the developer suggests that when push comes to shove, the city will put the interests of politically connected builders and organizations ahead of those of the community."
Everyone involved believes that the space should be used for "green purposes," as suggested in an extensive report by the Urban Land Institute in 2009. The question is: whose plan will move forward? Glover's, with his 300 tiny houses and free clinic, or the PRA's plan (the revived Logan Community Develop Corporation plan, which was apparently around 80% complete at the time the CDC shut down in 2014).
Garlen Capita, a community planner whom the Logan CDC had hired to help put a comprehensive plan together, told the audience on the 13th that the goal was to create "not just a neighborhood plan, but a plan that would use neighborhood resources to revitalize the neighborhood." But, Smith concludes, The residents want to make sure that what replaces what's there now is their vision, not someone else's.
· The Dead Zone: A Current and Future Green Zone? [Naked Philly]
· Philadelphia Tiny House and Co-housing Community Development [Meetup]
· Logan Orchard and Market: The Showdown at Wingohocking Creek [Philly Mag]