The Rail Park in Philadelphia is one of a cohort of adaptive reuse park projects around the country that rose into national consciousness with the development of New York City’s High Line, which has become a symbol of economic success as well as urban inequality.
Chinatown’s Futures Histories Project resulted in a clear, actionable set of recommendations for an equitable development model in Chinatown that can also be used in other neighborhoods and cities.
In previous conditions around the Rail Park, the lack of local organizing, public awareness and accountability, clarity around the impact of the project on economically vulnerable populations, and most importantly the lack of a plan to address the equity concerns, combine to create an environment which will engender displacement and disenfranchisement of vulnerable residents, businesses and institutions. As future phases of the park will cut through other Philadelphia neighborhoods, the project has implications across the city.
The Intersect provided project management, strategy development, and community engagement for this initiative. The project engaged multiple stakeholders, including the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Planning and Development, members of City Council, Chinatown community members and institutions, Friends of the Rail Park, PolicyLink’s All-In Cities project committee members in Philadelphia, Center City District, area developers, and thought leaders and advocates for equitable development.