Will the New Observation Deck Map Contain a Diverse View of Philly’s History?

“The goal is to make it a robust portrayal of Philadelphia.”

A photo posted by Cory J Popp (@coryjpopp) on

It’s probably safe to say the grand majority of us are super pumped about the upcoming One Liberty Observation Deck, especially now that it’s closer to opening its doors to us and our camera phones. Admit it, these teasers are definitely doing their job.

Even better, the Observation Deck will come with an interactive touchscreen map that will grant visitors the ability “to zoom in and out of the photos and read about the city’s various landmarks,” according to Technical.ly Philly’s Juliana Reyes. Pretty cool, right?

Of course! Less cool, though, is that we’ll have to wait awhile – or whenever anyone decides to step up to the task – for the feature to contain a full account of Philadelphia’s rich history. The Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia blog points out the issue:

Montparnasse 56, is working with four notable Philadelphians who will help curate content for the map — artist Isaiah Zagar, sports radio personality Mike Missanelli, DJ Cyndy Drue and VisitPhilly’s Cara Schneider. They’ll share anecdotes and their expertise about the city, so the map can have content that isn’t found in the history books or tourist guides, a spokeswoman said. But not one of those people are people of color, and in a city that’s roughly 46 percent white, 44 percent black, 13 percent Latino, and 7 percent Asian, that’s a mistake.

It’s an excellent line-up to be sure, but as the AAJA Philadelphia blog notes, it’s not exactly gearing up to be representative of the city itself, is it?

To their credit, One Liberty Observation Deck General Manager Evan Evans said more content would be added to the map going forward. Additionally, a spokesperson for the deck clarified with AAJA-Philly that the four aforementioned curators are volunteers who responded to an open call “to a diverse, wide group.”

“The goal is to make it a robust portrayal of Philadelphia,”  the spokesperson added. With that in mind, if you know of anyone who’d make a great addition to the team sharing their knowledge for the expert Philly map, AAJA-Philly suggests recommending the candidate to @PhillyFromTop or using the hashtag#MoreVoicesOnDeck.