2013 National Planning Excellence Awards: Best Practice

Philadelphia's Integrated Planning and Zoning Process

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission's (PCPC) integrated Planning and Zoning Process is an innovative approach to leveraging the synergy between citizen education, planning, and zoning reform. The PCPC coordinated three distinct planning activities — the Citizens Planning Institute (CPI), Philadelphia2035 (the city's comprehensive plan) and a new zoning code and map revision. Individually, these activities educated hundreds of citizens and professionals, and engaged thousands in envisioning the future of Philadelphia and improving the way development is regulated. Collectively, they created an environment that hadn't existed for 50 years. The city not only adopted a new comprehensive plan and zoning code, but did so in the same year and has moved forward with implementation.

The CPI is the PCPC's education and outreach entity and has 145 "citizen planners." Philadelphia2035, the city's first comprehensive plan adopted in more than 50 years, focuses on the themes of Thrive, Connect, and Renew. The zoning reform included both the rewrite of the city's 50-year-old code and multiple zoning-map revisions as recommended in District Plans.

Promoting the continued growth and development of Center City Philadelphia as the region's 'Metropolitan Center' is a key concept of the Philadelphia2035 Citywide Vision.