The average age of the School District of Philadelphia’s public school facilities is over 66 years, and decades of under-investment has resulted in nearly $5 billion of deferred maintenance, repairs, and replacement needs. As a result, students, teachers and staff have been exposed to lead in paint and drinking water, asbestos, mold, rodent and pest infestations, and lack of proper climate control.
Soil Generation, created by the Law Center and partner organizations in 2012 to advocate for healthy foods and green spaces in Philadelphia, is a constituent-led coalition of Philadelphia organizations and individuals who support equity and social justice for community-managed green space, gardens, and farms through advocacy, grassroots organizing, and community education.
Eastwick is a neighborhood in southwest Philadelphia. In the 1950s, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority condemned and seized more than 2,500 acres of land in Eastwick by eminent domain.
In 2011, the Public Interest Law Center launched the Garden Justice Legal Initiative (GJLI) with support from the Skadden Fellowship Foundation.
Community gardeners in South Kensington claim right to land they have stewarded for 29 years by adverse possession. Members of the Philadelphia Catholic Worker, a longstanding South Kensington community-based organization, filed litigation in order to establish its ownership and gain.
Grounded in Philly – www.groundedinphilly.org – is a web mapping and organizing tool that provides access to data on vacant land throughout Philadelphia and offers resources to individuals interested in starting or preserving community-based vacant land projects.
Through the advocacy of the Garden Justice Legal Initiative and its partners, Philadelphia City Council unanimously approved a Philadelphia Land Bank bill designed to provide a transparent, streamlined and equitable process through which the city can manage the more than 40,000 vacant properties and support a range of development and community-driven productive uses.
A 32-story mixed use development was proposed by Tower Development and developer Bart Blatstein in the Hawthorne Neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Like many non-affluent neighborhoods, the community was not consulted and its desires were disregarded in this process.