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Author: Ashley Harris

  “The pseudoscience of city planning and its companion, the art of city design, have not yet broken with the spacious comfort of wishes, familiar superstitions, oversimplifications, and symbols. They have not yet embarked upon the adventure of probing the real world.” [pg. 13] -Jane Jacobs The Death and Life of Great American Cities  (1961)   This assertion that city planning is crippled by symbols and superstitions is nowhere...

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Getting Signed Up   Putting up a sign is one of the most fundamental forms of advertising. If you own a business, you want people to be able to find you, to know who you are, etc. This is what a good sign conveys. However, in order to post a sign over your business in the City of Philadelphia, you must first get permission.   Most signs require...

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Do It Yourself   The City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I)  has an online platform called Eclipse which allows users to do a number of things online. This tool is great for license renewals including trade license and housing rental licenses. Once you set-up an account you can apply for new licenses, renew old licenses, and schedule inspections for existing permit applications all without every stepping...

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By Right Development   Projects which are allowed by the zoning code are known as by-right developments. Every parcel and property in the city of Philadelphia falls into a distinct category of the zoning code which can be found by searching the address in the City Atlas. This tool allows users to see the zoning classification, relevant overlays, registered neighborhood associations, past appeals, and more. The value...

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Things You Should Know   When it comes to building something in the city of Philadelphia there are a few essential things you will need. Many of these essentials come from L&I, the Department of Licenses and Inspections. The key here is understanding what you will need, and how to get it. In addition to any Building or Zoning Permits you may need for your project, you may...

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Monday was my first day at Philadelphia Zoning. To say it was overwhelming would be putting it mildly. I have a BA in Urban Studies, but the training of a university degree doesn’t compare to the concrete knowledge I’ve obtained in my first week here. I knew from my studies that cities are the impetus of economic growth propelling places like Dubai from a dusty...

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