Newsletter: 🤝 Candidate Meet and Greet Next Week / 🏗️ Legalizing Housing in All of PA / 🙄 Lessons from the "Poop Building"

Weekly Newsletter, Issue 272


We will be hosting a candidate meet & greet on Tuesday, April 2nd at 6 PM, at Indy Hall in Northern Liberties. We will be welcoming the following endorsed candidates running for State Senate and State House in the upcoming primary:

  • Nikil Saval for the 1st Senate District
  • Cass Green for the 10th House District
  • Joe Hohenstein for the 177th House District
  • Malcolm Kenyatta for the 181st House District
  • Andre Carroll for the 201st House District
  • Staff from Ben Waxman for the 182nd House District

These meet-ups are casual social gatherings, and are intended as a fun way for new and existing supporters to connect with other people involved with 5th Square and urbanist issues in Philadelphia. Pizza, seltzer, and beer will be provided with a suggested donation of $10 for members or $20 for non-members.


5th Square has joined the Pennsylvania Housing Choices Coalition, a diverse statewide coalition supporting state legislation to expand Pennsylvanians' access to housing choice.

In order to solve Pennsylvania's housing shortage, the coalition is calling for statewide legislation to reduce minimum lot sizes, expand legalization of ADUs, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, streamline the housing approval process, and more.

Read more about the coalition in the Inquirer: Pa. zoning laws are strangling home construction, and lawmakers want changes

Want to support 5th Square's efforts to improve housing affordability in Philadelphia and the rest of PA? Become a 5th Square member for as little as $5 per month.

Annual Subscriber, $60 per yearMonthly Subscriber, $5 per monthOne Year of Membership, Starting at $60


Remember the "poop building"? If you're lucky enough to be unfamiliar, this West Philly development was dubbed the "poop building" after a group of neighbors opposed to the project sent around flyers calling on residents to "donate your fecal sample to help fight gentrification and irresponsible development."

In what was a uniquely bizarre battle between YIMBYs and NIMBYs, the NIMBYs won and what was originally planned to be 76 apartments with 15 affordable units will now be only 11 duplexes with 22 parking spots.

Taylor Kessinger writes for the Inquirer, telling a tale of what we lose when housing is blocked:

When we frame the fight over an apartment building as a community-stands-up-to-greedy-developer story, the tenants who might have called the new building home are forgotten and erased. And when a building gets blocked, those tenants don’t vanish into the ether.


I’m glad previous generations of Squirrel Hill residents didn’t prevent the unit I live in from being created. Presumably, my neighbors feel the same way about their own homes. We should remember that our “city of neighborhoods” is just that — a city whose vibrancy, dynamism, and character are all made possible by density.

After all, density doesn’t just mean buildings. It means people.

The Inquirer: What the ‘poop building’ tells us about affordable housing in Philadelphia


This Friday March 29th, StreetBoxPHL, with 5th Square as a presenting partner, will be hosting the next session of the monthly Right-of-Way Roundtable Series.

Tune in to the upcoming virtual roundtable for a conversation with guest speakers Erike H. De Vera and David Vega-Barachowitz covering parking, from how you can be part of the Philadelphia Park(ing) Day movement, to how and why NYC is prototyping "pre-approved" Streeteries. 


Billy Penn: Philly floats plans for another intercity bus terminal

“We are elated to see that the mayor is finally taking action on resolving this crisis,” advocate Micah Fiedler said. “A city-controlled terminal can finally give the nearly one million intercity bus riders in Philadelphia a secure space to wait, and this plan is a positive step towards that goal.”

But the group, which includes Disabled in Action, Transit Forward Philadelphia, Philly Transit Riders Union and 5th Square, noted that the proposed depot has some of the same problems as the current pickup area.


🚌 Support SEPTA Bus Revolution

Buses are a vital lifeline for getting folks around Philly, with many neighborhoods completely reliant on this service being fast, frequent, and reliable. SEPTA’s Bus Revolution would make buses more useful for more people by redesigning its entire bus network which would result in over a million more people gaining access to frequent bus routes.

Learn more about why we support Bus Revolution and sign our petition in support.

💸 Support SEPTA Funding

Governor Shapiro has announced that he plans to direct $282 million in sales tax revenue to SEPTA and other PA transit agencies. This will cover a significant portion of SEPTA's deficit, but we must keep up the fight ensure Governor Shapiro's proposed funding comes through and to find an additional funding source to cover the remaining deficit.

You can help by signing this petition, and reaching out to elected officials.

🛣️ Stop I-95 Expansion

PennDOT is planning to expand I-95 in Center City and South Philly by adding lanes and new ramps. This will threaten the well-being of our neighborhoods by worsening air quality, increasing noise pollution, and harming our access to the waterfront.

Join us in telling PennDOT that highway expansion has no place in the core of Philadelphia by signing our petition.

🗳️ Register to Vote

Planning to vote in the upcoming primary election? You can register to vote here and then you can request an absentee or mail-in ballot. To vote in the primary, you must register by April 8th.

🏫 Support Clean Air in Philly Schools

Many of Philadelphia's schools lack ventilation, air conditioning, and consistent heat. Inadequate ventilation and air filtration in our schools contribute to the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID, flu, RSV, and colds as well as exacerbating asthma. Sign this letter to call on the Philadelphia Board of Education to take action now.


Environmental Happy Hour and Meet and Greet with Rep. Ben Waxman
Mar 28, 2024 6:00 - 8:00pm | Raven Lounge, 1718 Sansom
Join PennEnvironment for an Environmental Happy Hour and Meet and Greet with State Representative Ben Waxman.

StreetBoxPHL Right-of-Way Roundtable: Transforming the Parking Lane
Friday, March 29 · 12 - 1pm | Virtual
Join us and Friday noon and learn how you can be part of the Philadelphia Park(ing) Day movement, and how and why NYC is prototyping "pre-approved" Streeteries!

PhillyCenties March Metric Ride
March 30, 7:45 AM | Art Museum Steps

Philly Bike Party Easter Egg Ride
March 29, 8:00 PM | TBA

Philly Bike Action Citywide Meeting with Chris Gale
April 1, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM | Philadelphia Ethical Society
On April 1st we are stoked to have Chris Gale, the new Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia speaking out our monthly Citywide Meeting. Come hear about his goals and get involved with making Philadelphia the safest city to ride a bike in.

2024 Candidate Meet & Greet
April 02, 6:00pm – 8pm | Indy Hall, 709 N 2nd
5th Square is hosting a candidate meet & greet where we are welcoming our endorsed candidates running for State Senate and State House in the upcoming primary.

Connecting Neighborhoods to the Region: Northwest Schuylkill River Trails Summit
April 6, 2024 8:30AM - 1:00PM | Venice Island Performing Arts Center
Join us at the Venice Island Performing Arts Center in Manayunk on Saturday, April 6th at 8:30AM for an exploration of current trail investments and future trail projects in Northwest Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township!








University of Pennsylvania, Housing Initiative at Penn / Senior Research Associate / Analyst

District Attorney’s Transparency Analytics (DATA) Lab / Senior Data Analyst

City of Philadelphia

Clean Air Council

Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation / Director, Multi-Family Development

Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance

Delaware River Watershed / Professionals of Color Cohort 2024 (apply by April 1)

PIDC / Economic Development Intern, Capitalization and Impact


Pennsylvania Environmental Council / Program Manager, Trails & Outdoor Recreation

Connect the Dots / Project Manager 

Society Hill Civic Association / Administrator

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy / Senior Analyst, Center for Geospatial Solutions


Parking Reform Network / Policy Director


2024 Mpact Transit + Community Conference Call for Speakers

The Mpact Transit + Community Conference focuses on the interplay of transit, mobility, land use and development in building great places to live - for everyone and they are putting out a call for speakers. Add your voice and help shape the vision for transit-oriented communities. Closes March 29.

5th Square is Philadelphia's urbanist political action committee.

We're an all-volunteer grassroots organization advocating for safe and affordable transportation, abundant housing, and more and better public spaces. You’re receiving this email if you signed up via our website, attended one of our events, or supported one of our advocacy campaigns. 

Support our advocacy with a recurring monthly contribution of $5 or more.