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The Fight for a Philadelphia Gem
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - irving street, historic preservation, philadelphia, city planning
Contributed By: Maria Gorshin
Email The Author: maria@citygirlwrites.com
Website: http://CityGirlWrites.blogspot.com

The Fight for a Philadelphia Gem
When you veer off into unknown territory you're likely to find the unexpected. That's exactly what occurred yesterday as I left the commotion of a busy Philadelphia street to explore a charming little alley. Red brick townhouses framed by shutters and ivy lined a narrow brick cart way strewn with autumn leaves. The noise of the city fell away as if muted by years of history. I explored tentatively, wondering how residents in the area might react to a stranger photographing and gazing about the area. I found my answer readily in an informative flyer prepared for all who might happen by.
 
It turns out there is a power struggle taking place in that hidden little gem of a side street in Philadelphia - between residents who would like to see it privatized and those who believe that Irving Street, after 200 years in the public domain, should remain open to all. Since Irving Street was never put on the Philadelphia City Plan back in the 1800s, residents could easily move to deny public access. Instead, one small group of Irving Street residents has organized to protect the public's right to enjoy it.
 
Residents of this intimate space are choosing to share it with others instead of gating it, hiding it from view with planters and using it for personal interests as has been suggested. Some might argue that they are fighting against their own interests - after all, potential nuisances like noise, litter and loitering could be eliminated by turning the old cart way into a private lane. But the residents who have come together to form Save Irving Street see those issues simply as part of vibrant city life - problems that should not justify privatizing a historic street.
 
Is the struggle over the future of Irving Street a private neighborhood dispute or a case for the common good of Philadelphians and the many sightseers, artists and photographers who delight in exploring the city? Learn more by visiting www.SaveIrvingStreet.com.


Keywords: irving street, historic preservation, philadelphia, city planning

Posted: December 1, 2011
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Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
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