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Context Magazine
Context: The Journal of AIA Philadelphia
Rachel and Kiki served as guest editors of the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of Context: The Journal of AIA Philadelphia.  Offering news, interviews, profiles and opinion on a wide range of issues, Context aims to demonstrate the signal relationship between design of the built environment and quality of life in Greater Philadelphia.  (read editors' letter)
It's funny.  We signed on to edit the Industry Issue because we so admire the handsome buildings of Philadelphia's industrial past.  As architects, we find it easy to look beyond the graffiti and abandonment when we take the train to New York City or drive around the river wards.  We see magnificent brickwork, steel windows, and big skylights that have been scooping light into the interiors before the word "daylighting" was invented. 

Little did we know that, interesting as that is, there is a whole world of manufacturing in our city about which we knew very little.  The statistics are impressive.  Twenty percent of all jobs in Philadelphia are in the industrial sector.  Of that industrial work force, seventy percent live within two miles of their jobs, an environmentally conscious credential that few other sectors can match. 

Let's not paint too rosy a picture, though.  Manufacturers, architects, developers, builders and people in just about every walk of life have been hurt by the recession and the economic uncertainty that has followed.  As individual architects, most of us have limited knowledge of or impact on the financial intricacies of the problem.  But we as individuals and as a group have much to offer the present and future industrial city.  Our first step is to learn more about the industrial city of Philadelphia.

In this issue, you see in the profile of Steve Jurash and in Tom Walsh's article that there are plenty of manufacturers and industrial buildings that are providing value to their neighborhoods.  Torben Jenk and Donna Walker show that this should not surprise us; Philadelphia has a long history of innovation and industrial entrepreneurship.  John Haak describes the planning efforts underway to capitalize on Philadelphia's industrial legacy. In her opinion piece, Kiki sees Philadelphia poised to be the greenest industrial city in America.  And finally, you are taken back to a time of monumental civic expression by Jeffrey Totaro's beautiful photographs of the PECO Chester Waterside Station. 

So read on and experience industrial Philadelphia and environs - past and present.  Imagine with us what the future industrial Philadelphia might look like.

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(Click to read the Spring/Summer 2011 Issue of Context, edited by Kiki and Rachel)