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    • Swimmers cool off in the Devil’s Pool in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

Swimming in the Wissahickon isn't so idyllic: There’s poop in it.

On a summer day, taking a dip in the creek at Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley Park might seem like a really good idea. The stream is surrounded by birches, sycamores and poplars,…

    • Roofer Rob Nolfi applies a reflective topping on a rehabbed roof in North Philadelphia. Cool roofs help keep temperatures down when the city heats up. (Irina Zhorov/The Pulse)

A hotter topic: Building heat resilience into multifamily housing

Summers are getting hotter in Philadelphia. The average daily temperature in the eastern half of Pennsylvania has risen about two degrees Fahrenheit in the last three decades. Since May, the city…

    • Tony Guido explains features of a composting vessel he helped build for  a Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council design competition.

To vanquish food waste, a competition aims to design and compost

To the uninitiated, it sounds simple enough: Design a cheap, urban-friendly composting device that works at a neighborhood scale — something bigger than a backyard composting bin, but smaller than a commercial system…

    • Interface Studio's Scott Page presenting the feasibility study.

A community-based public-land study comes to an end, and trust is rebuilt in Eastwick

Healing wounds and recovering trust are not easy things to do. Yet that’s what Eastwick residents and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, in coordination with other city agencies, set out to accomplish…

    • Ana Marrero, Milagros Soto, and Pablo Cuevas catching a cool breeze on the stoop of their home in Hunting Park.

Exploring ways to cool down neighborhoods vulnerable to the heat

It was 85 degrees Monday afternoon in Hunting Park. Milagros Soto and Pablo Cuevas were sitting on their stoop, catching a breeze. "The heat is too hot,” said Soto, 36, who…

    • plastics in stormwater drain

Looking to cut plastics pollution in the ocean? Start upstream

While beach towns in New Jersey and Delaware work to curb the use of plastic straws, bags, containers, and even balloons, researchers say it appears the real problem lies upstream, in…

    • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signs the building new code into law Thursday. It will take effect in October. (Tom MacDonald, WHYY)

Philly OKs building code to modernize construction, address climate change

The City of Philadelphia has officially adopted a new building code in an effort to modernize construction and address more severe weather associated with climate change. The city is one of…

    • Abner Stolztfus's Cedar Dream dairy farm in Peach Bottom, Lancaster County

From dump-bound to table: Philabundance turns surplus milk into cheese and yogurt for hungry Philadelphians

On a beautiful sunny day recently in south Lancaster County, farmer Abner Stolztfus and seven of his eight children were inside, bottling yogurt in a room next to the barn. “The…

    • La Finquita's farmstand in 2014. Whatever didn't sell was donated to the Catholic Worker's daily soup kitchen.

How one urban farm was lost: La Finquita's finale

It started with a lock and a “No Trespassing” sign. They appeared one day on the fence at Lawrence and Master streets, next to a hand-painted sign reading, “La Finquita,” or…

    • Mayor Kenney toured San Juan neighborhoods with Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

Mayor Kenney returns from Puerto Rico disappointed by the federal government’s work

On his first official visit to Puerto Rico, Mayor Jim Kenney was impressed by island residents’ resiliency and strength. “There's a confidence that they have, and a decency that they have,…

    • Solarize Philly

Philly introduces affordable route to rooftop solar

Going solar becomes less expensive every year. Through federal and local programs and financing, homeowners might pay for solar installation in eight to 10 years of monthly payments equal to or…

    • An astroturf field and track direct rainwater runoff toward a containment basin in the recently rebuilt Taggart School playground in South Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Designed for green play, a South Philly schoolyard wins recognition

“It was an empty lot; concrete,” said Irene McKallop. “There wasn’t anything there. It was nothing, it was all cement.” McKallop is not talking about a parking lot. She’s talking about…

    • A mussel gives birth in a Philadelphia lab. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

With nation's first city-owned mussel hatchery, Philly employing bivalves in battle to improve water quality

Freshwater mussels function as nature’s water treatment plants. Each animal can filter up to 600 gallons of water per month. And when working together, they can dramatically clean the water of…

    • An energy-efficient building in the Navy Yard.

Coming soon to a building near you: an energy upgrade your wallet and the planet will like

Philadelphia's building code is set to receive an update expected to reduce energy bills and shrink the city's carbon footprint.  On Thursday, the  Council’s Licenses & Inspections committee gave the green…

    • A Philadelphia night cast in LED and traditional streetlamps

LED streetlights are coming to Philadelphia. Will they mess with our sleep?

Walk down a Philadelphia street at night and most likely, you will find the city lit in a warm yellow glow. The familiar cast comes from high-pressure sodium lights — the…

    • La Finquita farm stand, Summer 2014 | Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

City failing to deliver on community garden promises

Community gardening is a labor of love and patience. On scraps of reclaimed vacant land scattered across Philadelphia, people of all incomes and hues work hard during the growing season knowing…

    • Dr. Hall measuring lead levels with a portable x-ray fluorescence machine that detects lead levels in solids.

New map shows lead's poisonous path

Lead-based paint poisons more Philadelphians than any other source of the toxic metal, according to Philadelphia Health Department. But kids and adults can also ingest the dangerous substance through dirt, dust…

    • The Greenworks magazine includes tips for urban farming and soil safety | Ali Mendelson

Why Philly's sustainability czar published a magazine about neighborhood life instead of another boring report on climate change

Words, not numbers, quanitify the impact of 14 months of work on Philadelphia's Greenworks sustainability agenda. Instead of the usual chart-heavy PDF loaded with statistics and metrics, the city has released…

    • Navy Yard

The Navy Yard unveils new addition to Philly's first energy "microgrid"

The Navy Yard can now power itself with a new $11 million natural gas-fired peaker plant designed to keep the growing commercial district lit and live even in emergencies, Hidden City…

    • Refinery Scape | Rob Lybeck, EOTS Flickr Group

With South Philadelphia refinery in bankruptcy proceedings, neighbors see an opportunity for cleaner air

Zalaka Thompson lives less than a mile from the biggest oil refinery on the East Coast. Though the Schuylkill Expressway separates her home from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) crude facility,…

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