Frank Weise and the Redevelopment of Philadelphia

History of Redevelopment

Life History


Philadelphia Redevelopment


Camac Village




In the early years after World War II in America , the shortage of housing and poor quality of the existing housing was acknowledged, along with an interest in using the real estate industry to boost the economy. The intent according to the 1949 goal by Congress, was to provide “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family”. Between the 1950’s and 1960’s, Philadelphia experienced a migration away from the city and into the suburbs of people as well as businesses. Philadelphia ’s revitalization efforts attempted to bring people back into the city and provide appealing incentives in the form of better housing and neighborhood, employment opportunities and tourism.



Washington Square East Plan


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The Philadelphia City Planning Commission, established in 1942, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, in 1945, and the Federal urban renewal program in 1949, were the major players involved in the transformation.

While redevelopment efforts targeted a variety of different neighborhood with specific results in mind, the concern of this project and analysis is primarily with the redevelopment of residential neighborhoods and more specifically the Washington Square East Redevelopment Plan and how it shaped the architecture that remains there today and the architecture that was taking place in it’s vicinity.




Social Life

............Recreational uses continued nonetheless. More theaters cropped up on three edges of the area around the turn of the century, while restaurants and nightclubs occupied some of the larger houses. Photographs of Locust or Camac streets from the 1930s through the 1950s show an insistent sea of neon, of pizza shops and Chinese restaurants, small hotels, and bars.

Quietly, in the 1960s and 70s the neighborhood began to be rediscovered. Small new brick rows and townhouses were built that generally respected the textures of the place, along with a few tall apartment buildings closer to Broad Street. Often the old was adapted, and the low rents in subdivided old houses on Spruce and Pine attracted new residents, many of them students drawn by the centrality of the location, the nearby schools, and the new counterculture night life rising to the east on South Street in the 1970s. The neighborhood also became a favored area for gay and lesbian residents, many of whom renewed historic small houses in the area..........Source: