Join us Sunday, February 19th at 3:30 p.m. to celebrate the launch of “Fuck a Cellicon Valley,” a zine about a development plan that would displace residents and destroy wild space in the area around Bartam’s North and Bartam’s South. We’ll have snacks and free zines!
Here’s an excerpt:
After we heard rumors about UPenn developing the land around Bartram’s North we did some research and discovered an evil plot. In 2013 a group of economists, developers, city planners, and other villians came up with the Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, a 143 page document envisioning a “21st century industrial district” in Southwest Philly along the Schuykill river corridor. The report details massive development projects to be carried out over 20-25 years. Reading the report in 2023 provided us with some answers and many many questions.
The Master Plan is worth looking over carefully if you are someone who cares about environmental destruction and gentrification. You can find it online at https://www.design.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/LSMP_Small.pdf
The plan breaks up the development projects into three sections. The first is a Logistics Hub, connected to the Philadelphia Airport, whose recent expansion destroyed wetlands to build a cargo facility. We’ve already seen how this has gone down for the FDR meadows. The second is the Energy Corridor in South Philly, where they are currently focused on remediating decades of industrial pollution from oil infrastructure. The remediation is predicted to take years, then they’re going build factories.
The third zone, the Innovation District, is the focus of this zine. Because it is closest to us, because it threatens the places we live in and love. In writing this zine, we hope that other people will look into the master plan and oppose gentrification as they see it manifest in their contexts.
The Innovation District consists of the Pennovation Center and the areas near Bartram’s North and Bartram’s South including some wild lands and spaces. We spend a lot of time in those spaces and despite what developers think, there is already vibrant activity, innovation, and life, we don’t want to see the area get paved over and built up.
The Lower Schuylkill Biotech Campus is part of what people at the University of Pennsylvania are calling “Cellicon Valley”. It’s an attempt to brand Philly as the next hi-tech hotspot for pharmaceutical companies and research institutions. Like Silicon Valley, Cellicon Valley is a bad and annoying idea that should never come to fruition. It’s literally a scheme to capture, commodify, and sell us ways to live, by destroying and locking us out of the ways we live.