Collingswood, NJ as a model for A/B North

The New York Times has a feature story on Collingswood, NJ, a town near Camden and Philadelphia whose renaissance offers a possible model for what A/B North might become.

Collingswood is a bit bigger than A/B North (1.6 square miles vs. 1 square mile) and its population of 15,000 is probably comparable to what the A/B North population will be after the Holton St Corridor, Western Ave, and the new Harvard campus are developed. In the late 90's Collingswood was “the place you would go to buy drugs” but now it has transformed into a community with many positive attributes and things that would be welcome here.

  • Public transportation that takes only 11 minutes to travel 7 miles into downtown Philadelphia.
  • More than a dozen restaurants and retail and service businesses that benefit the local community in a walkable, human-scaled downtown
  • Outdoor recreation at a large public park - the 60-acre Knight Park that is home to festivals, sports events, and open-air movies - and at an outdoor community swimming pool
  • Entertainment and community events at a local theatre
  • New mixed-use development like the LumberYard Condominiums that will create 120 condos and 21 new shops on 4 acres of land

If a New Jersey suburb can support this constructive development and enhance the quality of life for its residents, it seems reasonable to expect the development of Harvard's campus and the rest of the community (Western Ave, Holton St Corridor) to be able to do something at least as good.

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