Located in West Philadelphia, 52nd Street is a busy commercial corridor made up of small, family-run businesses owned by immigrants and people of color. After years of decline due to disinvestment in the neighborhood, the corridor has seen new interest from the City and local organizations the past few years with community leaders advocating for resources to support revitalization. One issue the community sought to address was litter—but not just through the addition of a few extra BigBelly trash cans.
Spearheaded by The Intersect founder and former 52nd Street corridor manager Akeem Dixon, community leaders approached the litter problem as an opportunity to further beautify the street and support local entrepreneurs and artists. Using funds from a Philadelphia Department of Commerce grant, Akeem and project partners commissioned seven artisan trash cans from sculptors at the Traction Company, a local makers’ place.
“The star displayed in the can is also embedded in the side walk along 52nd Street which allowed us to tie the areas rich history into its bright future,” said Akeem. “This project illustrates how the community can work together with the city to address a problem together while residents get to benefit through jobs and a cleaner environment.”