Tuesday, July 08, 2008

YIP to Nutter: Bring America's Mayors to Philly

What major American city has never hosted a national conference of the Mayors' Institute on City Design?

Yes, that would be Philadelphia.

The folks at Young Involved Philadelphia - one of the worst-named, but best-intentioned good-government groups in the city - recently discovered this embarrassing lapse and is beating the drum for the city to make amends. Last week, the group sent a letter to Mayor Nutter encouraging him to make up for Philadelphia's lack of hospitality by signing up immediately as a host city for the group. So far, Nutter hasn't sent out any invitations, or even responded to the group. What's he waiting for?

This kind of conference, which allows you to have your photo taken with all the marquee names of urban America, seems right up the alley of our publicity-savvy mayor. You get to show off your town to tourists, chow down in some choice local boites, trade municipal secrets - and then the Mayors' Institute picks up the tab for the event. The group so badly wants to hold its conference here that its director, Jess Wendover, recently asked a YIP member if he could help bring the subject to Nutter's attention. The Mayors' Institute was set up two decades ago to show America's urban leaders how design can be used to revitalize cities.It's a joint project of the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Architectural Foundation and the US Conference of Mayors.

Almost every big city worth its salt has hosted one of these conferences - Denver (Recognize Mayor John Hickenlooper in the photo above?), Chicago, D.C., New Orleans, Boston, Miami, Baltimore. It's true that Philadelphia did serve as the host for a regional conference in 2005, but Philly's mayor at the time neglected to show up. Lemme think - wasn't that John Street? Surely Mayor Nutter can do better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is Inga thinking - I love the name YIP!

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is not entirely accurate. The Mayors' Institute on City Design has hosted two sessions in Philadelphia, one in 2000 and another in 2005. Both sessions were organized in partnership with the Penn School of Design, and each was a "national conference" as participants included mayors from around the country. Mayor John Street was not an official participant at the 2005 session, but he did host a reception for the participants at City Hall (no City of Philadelphia funds were involved).

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see the Inquirer architecture critic again is writing about something that has nothing to do with architecture.

I yearn for the day when the "Paper of Record" for the delawar Valley will hire an architecture critic who actually writes about architecture.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Degenerate said...

Anonymous 8:37...

You clearly don't have a clue. Yes she is the Architecture critic, but that also includes works of design and Urban Planning. This group is set up to encourage and support planning. Therefore it is entirely relevant to her article.

Furthermore, she is one if the greatest champions of Philadelphia that this city has. Which is also something that a lot design professionals feel.

Architecture is a hell of a lot more than just talking about Architectural building elements. Its about place making, it's about the interaction between the space, the street, the people, and the city. It is ALL interconnected and its the lesser architect who doesn't recognize that.

I would also like to note that Inga has won several rather prominent awards for critics. I guess you however are the only one who knows what they are talking about.


7:58 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Inga has her facts right. Those past sessions were considered "Regional Sessions," even though they included folks from outside the Philadelphia region. The University of Pennsylvania is a Regional Collaborator for MICD.

Philadelphia has never had one of MICD's major national conferences, run out of MICD's D.C. offices (rather than organized by a regional collaborator)

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's only worth writing about if Erdy McHenry designed it.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The folks at Young Involved Philadelphia - one of the worst-named, but best-intentioned good-government groups in the city"

The road to Hell was paved with good intentions...

3:19 PM  

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