PLANNING COMMISSION ANNOUNCES PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY

Philadelphia, January 25, 2013 – As part of the ongoingPhiladelphia2035 comprehensive planning process, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) is piloting a web-based computer game in an effort to engage with more Philadelphians about the projects and policies shaping the city. On January 28, the PCPC will launchPHL2035: The Game!, an interactive website that takes players through questions and scenarios regarding the University/Southwest Planning District, an area which includes the neighborhoods of Kingsessing, Cedar Park, Walnut Hill, Spruce Hill, Powelton Village, Saunders Park, West Powelton, West Shore, and University City.

 

The game takes the planning process online.  It informs individuals of current trends in the city’s development, while asking them to think about future improvements, weighing in on proposed projects and making choices about local priorities. Players can use pre-loaded maps, charts and other materials as clues to answer factual questions. There are also opportunities for open-ended comment and discussion about issues ranging from zoning changes and bike lanes to housing policy.

 

“My Administration is committed to planning for Philadelphia’s future with the input of its citizens. PHL2035: The Game! allows the City to use technology to directly engage residents on the issues that matter in their individual community,” Mayor Michael A. Nutter said.

 

Players earn video coins for correct answers, which can then be used as votes in support of local causes such as cleanups or tree plantings. The three most popular causes will receive $500 donations at the game’s conclusion with the money being supplied by an award from the Knight Foundation. The prizes are a way to connect the longer-term focus of the game to incremental progress happening now.

 

Planners hope that the game will attract participants who are often unable to attend community meetings, including seniors, school-age children, and those whose work schedules conflict with evening events. The goal is to attract more than 1,000 individuals during the game’s three-week run, which ends February 18.

 

“We are always looking for ways to engage in meaningful discussions with the public to produce plans that balance local interests with economic realities,” said Gary Jastrzab, Executive Director of the PCPC. “PHL2035: The Game! is an opportunity to foster an in-depth discussion not only between our staff and the public, but between Philadelphians from different neighborhoods and backgrounds. We expect to share and generate a lot of valuable data, and achieve a better understanding of neighborhood priorities in the process.”

 

PHL2035: The Game! is a local application of an existing online platform called Community PlanIt, which has been deployed to enrich planning processes in Massachusetts and Michigan to date.  Community PlanIt is a project of the Engagement Game Lab and is funded by the Knight Foundation. The Philadelphia game is a partnership between the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Engagement Game Lab.

The partnership came about through Philadelphia’s recently-formed Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, whose co-directors made the introduction between the game developers and the PCPC. “We’re looking forward to seeing the game in action in a city as diverse and dynamic as Philadelphia,” says Dr. Eric Gordon, director of Engagement Game Lab.  “This is a new way to participate in civic life and long-term planning, and we think it is a great addition to their other outreach efforts.”

 

The game is another piece in an array of education and outreach efforts undertaken by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in recent years, including the Citizens Planning Institute; an agency blog;Facebook and Twitter accounts; and a text-message-based feedback tool called Textizen, which will be making a return in conjunction with PHL2035: The Game!

 

PHL2035: The Game! will be available until February 18 from any computer or smart phone, including KEYSPOTs, the city’s network of free public computing centers. To sign up for the game and learn more, visit www.phila2035.org andhttp://www.communityplanit.org/PHL2035/.

Advertisements

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, RECYCLEBANK WIN OUTSTANDING PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP AWARD

Philadelphia, January 22, 2013– The City of Philadelphia and Recyclebank were selected for the Outstanding Award in Public/Private Partnerships by the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). The award honors the partnership’s success in building a more sustainable city by increasing recycling participation among community members and diverting more waste from landfills.

 

“As Philadelphia strives to be the greenest city in America, we are focused on forging partnerships that help us reach our sustainability goals, increase community engagement and stimulate the local economy,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “In working with us to create Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, Recyclebank has been a strong partner and has helped Philadelphia to reach new heights of urban sustainability and national environmental leadership.”

 

The award was presented Saturday, January 19 at the USCM 81stWinter Meeting. The Excellence in Public/Private Partnership Awards were established by the USCM to recognize the achievements made possible by the partnerships between the member companies of the Mayors Business Council and cities across the nation. Mayor Nutter and Erika Diamond, vice president of community solutions at Recyclebank, accepted the award.

 

“Philadelphia’s strides in building a more sustainable and smarter city is testament to the impact that partnerships between public entities and private corporations can create,” said Diamond. “By rewarding residents for taking more everyday green actions like recycling, Philadelphia has increased recycling rates in the face of stagnant national average rates and helped residents realize the financial benefits of making more sustainable choices.”

 

In summer 2008, the City of Philadelphia made a commitment to sustainability by expanding its recycling program, switching to a single-stream recycling system. In February 2010, the City furthered its commitment by partnering with Recyclebank and offering more than 540,000 household residents the opportunity to get rewards for recycling at home with the program, Philadelphia Recycling Rewards. In addition to rewards for recycling, the partnership has raised awareness and education for recycling, both critical components to recycling behavior change. Because of these combined efforts, the City has increased the total amount of residential recycling collected by nearly 20,000 tons and its curbside recycling diversion rate is up four percentage points since the Recycling Rewards Program was implemented Citywide in July 2010.

 

“The Philadelphia Streets Department is very proud to be the co-recipient of the Outstanding Award in Public/Private Partnerships with our partner Recyclebank,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson. “The award signifies how far Philadelphia has come in its recycling efforts and supporting Mayor Nutter’s vision for Philadelphia to be the most viable and environmentally conscious city in the country,” Tolson said. “Philadelphia Recycling Rewards allows us to give back to residents who have made recycling a priority in their community. This program not only makes the City greener by increasing recycling rates and saving the City from costly landfill fees; it puts more green in the pockets of local residents by giving them points redeemable at local businesses.”

 

Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, powered by Recyclebank, rewards residents for recycling with discounts and deals from locally-based businesses and national brands. For more information on the program, please visit www.phillyrecyclingpays.com.

 

ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA STREETS DEPARTMENT

For more information about the Philadelphia Streets Department, visit:http://www.philadelphiastreets.com.

 

ABOUT RECYCLEBANK

Recyclebank helps create a more sustainable future by rewarding people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from more than 4,000 local businesses and national brands. Through its online platform and partnerships with municipalities, haulers, small businesses and corporate brands, Recyclebank empowers individuals to make a collective impact on the environment by increasing household recycling and taking other environmentally-friendly actions. A Certified B Corporation, Recyclebank has been recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program and for Outstanding Excellence in Public/Private Partnerships from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Recyclebank is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit www.Recyclebank.com.

MAYOR NUTTER, STREETS DEPARTMENT LAUNCH PHILLY FUTURE TRACK PROGRAM

Philadelphia, January 14, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Philadelphia Streets Department announced the launch of a new program called “Philly Future Track,” which will provide job-skills training and real-world work experience to 130 young adults in Philadelphia. Using service as a strategy to build civic and environmental stewardship, Philly Future Track will provide individuals with a paid position involving community service and other life and career building skills during a six-month period.

 

“Philadelphia, like many big cities, faces the challenges of unemployment and city cleanliness, which both have significant impact on the City as a whole,” said Mayor Nutter. “Philly Future Track is a smart strategy to address these challenges by investing in the development and job readiness of Philadelphia’s young adult population. Participants will gain valuable skills to prepare them for future employment while they engage in public service beautifying Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.”

 

This program will provide a temporary employment opportunity to participants who will assist with cleaning and beautification projects in key areas throughout Philadelphia. The program is designed to be a career readiness pipeline, providing the participants with enough resources and education to transition into full time employment, attend a 2 or 4 year higher education institution, enter into a vocational training program/school or be prepared to take the military aptitude test.

 

The participants were not previously enrolled in higher education and were unemployed. For three days a week over the course of six months, participants will work in teams on neighborhood beautification projects with direction from the Streets Department. The remaining two days are spent in the classroom, where participants will learn job readiness skills.

 

“Philly Future Track is designed to create stronger citizens who live, work and serve in their communities,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson. “By instilling self-sustainability and civic pride in Philadelphia’s young adults, they will be better prepared to take the next steps towards developing long-term careers, and in turn, improve the City as a whole.”

 

Philly Future Track is made possible by the partnerships of several city and community organizations. The City of Philadelphia, Department of Streets, Mayor’s Office of Community Services (MOCS), Philadelphia Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild (POWER), Community Women’s Education Project (CWEP) and Community Marketing Concepts are all investing in the futures of both Philadelphia’s young adult population and the City of Philadelphia as a whole.

 

The Philly Future Track program is still seeking participants. If interested, please visit http://www.philadelphiastreets.com/future-track.aspx for more information and to learn how to apply.

 

For more information on the Department of Streets, please visithttp://www.philadelphiastreets.com/.   For more information on MOCS, please visit http://www.phila.gov/mocs/.  For more information on POWER, please visit http://www.powerphiladelphia.org/.  For more information on CWEP, please visit www.cwep.org/. For more information on Community Marketing Concepts, please visitwww.communitymarketingconcepts.com.