PHAs Martin Luther King Praised for Environmental Friendliness
    Philadelphia-The Philadelphia Housing Authority's award-winning Martin Luther King development has been cited as a shining example of a "smart growth" neighborhood. 

    The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) praised the MLK development while releasing a report on urban growth patterns by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit group that promotes the responsible use of land and creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. 

    The ULI report warns that if sprawling development continues, the total miles that people drive nationally will increase 59 percent by 2030. Carbon emissions from this increased driving will overwhelm expected gains in increased mileage standards. 

    "We've chosen to announce the report at the Martin Luther King Plaza because this is a positive story," said Brian Hill, President and CEO of PEC. "It tells how good decisions in urban settings can attract people to the cities, the towns, the boroughs and help revitalize neighborhoods in our communities. We're glad to highlight this wonderful, wonderful project that PHA has here." 

    PHA Executive Director Carl Greene thanked Hill and PEC for their recognition, noting that the new MLK has received awards from several professional groups with different perspectives. 

    "Today, PHA has become a much more environmentally conscious organization," he said. "We've been building our new homes to Energy Star standards and bringing significant reductions in energy use across all of the affordable housing products that we provide." 

    Greene told reporters that PHA recently began construction of a totally green senior development in North Philadelphia, Nellie Reynolds Gardens. The building goes far beyond Energy Star standards, he said, and sets a standard for new construction in the city. 

    "These communities are smart. They're attractive. They're making the most of their space and they lead to the kind of neighborhoods that will cause people to want to live near them." 

    Property values in the MLK neighborhood have improved dramatically, too, Greene said. The development includes homeownership as well as rentals, with professional people living in the same neighborhood as low-income residents. People "hardly need a car" if they live at MLK, he said. 

    The ULI report said Americans living in compact neighborhoods where cars are not the only transportation option drive one-third fewer miles than those in typical automobile-oriented places. The findings show that people who move into compact, "green neighborhoods" such as MLK are making as big a contribution to fighting global warming as those who buy the most efficient hybrid vehicles, but remain in car-dependent areas. 

    PEC's Hill said changes are needed in state and federal policy to promote smart growth neighborhoods, including favorable mortgage rates for developments that promote mass transit and energy efficiency. 

    PHA Commissioner Nellie Reynolds, for whom the new "green" development is named, praised Greene for his vision. "We'd like to say thank you, Mr. Greene, and continue on doing your work."
PHA Executive Director Carl Greene conducts a walking tour of the MLK neighborhood, which the Pennsylvania Environmental Council praised as an example of smart growth.

Brian Hill, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, praised the MLK development. He says it's a wonderful example of how compact, walkable developments can attract people to cities, towns and boroughs, while reducing sprawl. Also pictured are PHA Executive Director Carl Greene and Commissioner Nellie Reynolds.

A view of PHA's new MLK development along Juniper Street, at the south end of Center City Philadelphia.

The Martin Luther King development has won many awards for its design from professional groups with different perspectives. It has also helped to raise property values in the neighborhood.