Planning the River Wards Environment Tour

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Workshop participants use participatory mapping to identify both environmental concerns and neighborhood assets in Port Richmond and Bridesburg.

Clean Air Council has spent the past month working with neighborhood residents in Bridesburg and Port Richmond (two River Wards neighborhoods) to develop a tour of the area’s built environment. We’re mostly concerned with two broad types of places in these neighborhoods: (1) sites that we as residents and advocates see as environmental concerns, and (2) places that local people see as assets to the neighborhood. The purpose of the tour is to highlight some of the issues we see in the area and continue a conversation on how best to address concerns and improve assets.

From the workshops we held in march, we have developed a map of resident toxics research, environmental concern, and neighborhood assets. Putting this all on the map in our workshops helped us visualize exactly where the things are that the community is most concerned with. In the first workshop, we searched through the databases on environmental hazards managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) . We identified a few sites of concern and researched what types of pollutants they either emit or store. In the next workshop, we met to plot out a broader set of concerns and assets: those that are not included in the official databases. This ranges from polish sausage markets to concrete recycling facilities, neither of which are included in the formal databases the E.P.A. manages.

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A screen shot of our interactive community mapping project. Click the image to take you to the online map presentation.

Finally, Clean Air staff worked with students in the department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania to digitize these maps. We produced a clean, readable interactive map that visualizes the results of our two mapping workshop sessions held in March. Click on this sentence to take you to the map presentation and tutorial we created (use the arrows at the bottom of the screen to navigate through the slides). The next step is for residents of Port Richmond and Bridesburg to use this map to finalize the list for the River Wards Environment Tour that will be held in early May (details to come!). If you live or work in or around either of these neighborhoods, please look through this map and identify 10 assets or concerns that you would like highlighted on the tour. E-mail your submissions to Chris Mizes at cmizes(at)cleanair(dot)org.

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