Maryland-based wind power company Clean Currents wants to help solve one of Philadelphia’s biggest problems: it’s blighted, vacant lots. But instead of implementing its own plans to improve the empty spaces, Clean Currents is engaging local community members, and now the public, to decide what should be done with the lots through a program called Lots of Power.
“Lots of Power came directly from conversations that we had with Philadelphia residents, many of whom named vacant land as one of the largest problems in their communities,” said Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents said.
Lots of Power is an initiative developed through partnerships with AIGA Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, and various schools and community organizations in Kensington.
The program pairs professional designers and architects (mentors) with high school youth (mentees), and as teams, the pairs are tasked to create projects that will make sustainable transformations to vacant lots in the Kensington community.
Five mentor/mentee teams worked through the summer to prepare project proposals that were submitted to Clean Currents last month. Now, through a process of internal and public voting, two winners will be chosen to receive a $2,000 grant to implement their proposals later this fall.
“It is only natural that we would want to involve the public in the voting process so that we can help transform their neighborhoods in a way that benefits everyone,” Skulnik said.
Members of the public can vote for the project of their choice by visiting the Clean Currents PA Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CleanCurrentsPA. The page provides detailed information about each of the project proposals and the team members. Members of the public can cast votes daily for their favorite team projects from now until Sept. 27.
“There are 40,000 vacant lots in Philadelphia, detracting from the city’s beautiful neighborhoods and attracting crime,” said Skulnik. “Lots of Power will make a difference for Kensington, the mentors, and the teens that participate.”