Reading Urban Architecture
Reading, Pennsylvania, once a vibrant and critical transportation and rail industrial city had lost tremendous numbers of jobs and an exodus of the population that had built the industrial powerhouse center. With no prospect of luring those industries back, the city faced bankruptcy, suffered environmental ills related to its past, and was faced with few alternatives for a brighter future. The plan proposed here represents a new way of thinking about large scale urban wastelands, and includes remediation of soil contamination in Reading's main rail yard in the heart of the historic urban core, and the banks of the Schuylkill River forming its western edge. Following remediation, those lands were networked with abandoned and disused parklands to form an urban agricultural network that would be leased to urban homesteaders for production of vegetable, fruit, and floral stock that would serve regional groceries and restaurants. Local schools would allow after-hours space for the dual mission of providing vocational and entrepreneurial training related to botany, marketing, and distribution to homesteaders and urban farmers.