Determining the path of action for Philadelphia

February 3, 2012

For many years Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been known as a "meds-and-eds" town, according to Flying Kite, as the city has a massive life sciences presence, especially in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and research. Along with these sectors, the region is host to top-flight institutions of higher education, each with its own specialty.

The news source reported that a transition is beginning to occur in the city, however, as certain sectors are becoming more prominent in Philadelphia, including technology and sustainability.

The technology sector has benefited from collaboration between the city and both private and public agencies, and men like Jeff Friedman, Mayor Michael Nutter's manager of civic innovation and partnership, have seen the transition up-close and personal.

"Government, higher education institutions, K-12 schools, businesses and non-profits in the tech-using and tech-consuming sectors are working together to move toward a shared vision, including advancing strategic initiatives and removing roadblocks and obstacles," Friedman told Flying Kite.

Sustainability is also beginning to flourish in Philadelphia, as the city is beginning to establish itself as a leader in the sector. The reach of the industry extends from small businesses to large institutions, and a focus has been placed on achieving green goals in a way that is economically viable for the region.

"What Philadelphia is doing to improve water and air quality is highly visible and not only makes Philadelphia a beautiful place to visit, it also improves property values," Kate Houstoun, managing director for the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, told the news source. "Every project creates jobs for residents and businesses small and large."

One effort has helped to bridge the gap between these two sectors, and it is also the most funded and high-profile effort in the city, according to Flying Kite.

The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) pulls the best minds and assets from the private sector, higher education and government to develop innovative energy efficient building technologies, designs and systems.

This effort was designated by the U.S. Department of Energy as an innovation HUB, helping to lead the nation forward in energy efficient building and using federal and private funding to create innovative solutions for the country.

This type of collaboration is what will lead the sector forward, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, as a report was recently released that highlights how U.S. cities can save billions by leveraging private investment in green infrastructure.