Common Threads in This Year’s Rouse Award Residential Finalists

Even Folsom Powerhouse, the most residential of this year's Rouse Award finalists, incorporates mixed uses in the form of an updated take on the traditional corner store. | Photo: Postgreen Homes

Even Folsom Powerhouse, the most residential of this year’s Rouse Award finalists, incorporates mixed uses in the form of an updated take on the traditional corner store. | Photo: Postgreen Homes

The Urban Land Institute Philadelphia District Council announced the finalists for this year’s Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Awards for Excellence last week, and five of the 14 finalists fall into the residential category, at least in part.

And it’s that “at least in part” part that’s one of the most significant common threads connecting the five projects. The message these projects deliver is one that urbanists, developers and planners have all been hammering home in one way or another for more than a decade now: Single-use is out, multitasking is in. (Toll Brothers, please copy.)

Not even the most residential of the five projects is exclusively residential, and that project has many other features that make it a standout. Read more »

State College Borough Passes Resolution Vowing to Protect Immigrants

State College

State College Municipal Building, via Google Maps

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistook a resolution passed by the Borough of State College for an action by Pennsylvania State University. While parts of the university are located within the municipality, the entities are separate, and the university was not involved in the resolution.

The Borough of State College, in which some Pennsylvania State University facilities are located, has enacted a formal resolution pledging to protect immigrants less than a week after Penn State’s president expressed hesitation about terming the school a “sanctuary campus.” Read more »

First-Time Find: Start at the Top in Swarthmore for $235K

519 Walnut Lane #3, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081 | TREND images via D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate

519 Walnut Lane #3, Swarthmore, Pa. 19081 | TREND images via D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate

Swarthmore might just be the most desirable community in Delaware County that’s not on the Main Line. The compact borough surrounding the famed liberal-arts college boasts outstanding schools, a cute downtown, easy access to Center City via SEPTA’s Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line and home after home with loads of character.

This Queen Anne near the borough’s northern edge is one such home. But since it’s been divided into three condominium units, it means that a first-time homeowner of modest means can get in on the ground floor of the good life in Swarthmore.

Or in this case, the third floor. Read more »

First-Time Find: A Place to Grow in Swarthmore

2 Yale Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

2 Yale Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

Often, young families face a dilemma once they have children: Do we stay in the neighborhood we love, or must we move somewhere where they’ll have play space, or good schools, or some combination of those and other factors?

With this home close to the center of Swarthmore, you can avoid having to make that decision, for you will have taken care of all that the moment you buy it. Read more »

The Philly Area Schools That Rejected Barack Obama’s and Tom Hanks’ College Applications

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

Barack Obama in his official Senate portrait. Tom Hanks, Photo | Alan Light, CC BY 2.0.

I was reading something the other day — I can’t remember what, because the Internet has made reading 80,000 things a day way too easy — in which the author commented snidely on adults who remember their SAT scores. I flushed with embarrassment, because, naturally, I remember my SAT scores. (They were pretty good.) In my experience, most people remember their SAT scores, just like they remember the colleges that rejected their applications (okay for you, Princeton; who’d want to go to Ted Cruz’s college, anyway?) for the rest of their lives.

That may be why I, um, clicked through recently to a slideshow that revealed what colleges rejected some Very Famous People, and thereby learned that I’m in great company. Tina Fey was also rejected by Princeton. (OMG, she and Lyin’ Ted would have been in the same class!John Kerry, Tom Brokow, Matt Groening and Meredith Vieira were rejected by Harvard. (Vieira reports she was “devastated.”) Katie Couric was turned down by Smith. (Who gets turned down by Smith?) Read more »

Local Colleges Still Losing War Against Student Drinking

Pity the poor American institution of higher learning. Student drinking on campuses leads to property damage, arrests, injuries and deaths, hazings, and a tsunami of reports of student sexual assaults. (Research shows that 89 percent of those assaults involve drinking.) A recent study declared Pennsylvania colleges sixth in the nation in alcohol arrests of students, led by Shippensburg, East Stroudsburg, Lehigh, Penn Tech, Penn State and Kutztown — not the sort of high ranking universities crave. So naturally, administrators are doing their damnedest to clamp down on alcohol. At Swarthmore College, for example, new rules — no more hard liquor at school-sponsored parties, no more drinking games like beer pong, no more punch or party bowls — went into effect on campus in the fall of 2014. Students, predictably, were not enthused. “Seriously — can the admin with a straight face — indeed genuinely — defend these rules?” one incredulous undergrad demanded in the student newspaper, the Daily Gazette.

A year and a half later, a new report from Swarthmore’s department of public safety shows that while alcohol incidents at the campus’s three major social events dipped slightly in the first year of the more stringent prohibitions, they’ve since soared to new heights. (Nifty chart here.) Read more »

Will Philly-Area Schools Rescind Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degrees?

Last week, Lehigh University rescinded an honorary degree it had given to Bill Cosby in 1987. It decided to nix the honor because of the overwhelming number of women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault. (Cosby has never been  criminally charged — though he currently faces several civil lawsuits —and has denied the accusations.)

“Pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Trustees, Lehigh University has rescinded the honorary degree bestowed upon William H. Cosby, Jr. by the University in 1987,” the University said in a statement. “In sworn deposition testimony, Mr. Cosby admitted under oath to behavior that is antithetical to the values of Lehigh University and inconsistent with the character and high standards that honorary degree recipients are expected to exemplify.”

Lehigh is not the only local university to have awarded Cosby an honorary degree. Seven other schools in the Philadelphia area — Delaware State, Drexel, Haverford, Swarthmore, Temple, Penn and West Chester — have awarded Cosby honorary diplomas. Philadelphia magazine reached out to all seven schools to ask if they were considering stripping him of his honorary diplomas. Here’s what we found out. Read more »

Swarthmore Alum Wins Genius Grant; Founded African University

Here in America, there are more and more questions every day, it seems, about the value of a liberal arts education. But Patrick Gyimah Awuah enjoyed his years at Swarthmore College. No–he really enjoyed them. That’s why he used money he made working at Microsoft to start his own college in his homeland of Ghana. And his reward? He’s just been announced as the recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant.” Read more »

Penn Slips in New Colleges Rankings from U.S. News & World Report

It’s that time of year again — when college students go back to school, see old friends and probably hit the year’s first party. It’s also the time of year when U.S. News & World Report publishes its annual ranking of colleges.

The University of Pennsylvania is always a top contender, but this year had a slip in the rankings. In fact, it was the only school from last year’s top 10 to shift at all, dropping from a tie at No. 8 to No. 9.  Read more »

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