A Tree Grows in Philadelphia: Poor Neighborhood Wins as Residents Work to Beautify Urban Blocks

In an effort to create stronger social linkages in a poor urban community, the Urban Tree Connection engaged residents of the Haddington area of Philadelphia from 2001 to 2003 to clean up and beautify three neighborhood blocks and turn one into an urban park.

The Urban Tree Connection also developed after-school programs and gardening clubs where neighborhood children learn gardening skills, conduct plant sales, and create and maintain gardens.

The Urban Tree Connection is a non-profit organization that develops community stewards to create healthy neighborhoods in urban settings.

Key Results

  • Residents on three blocks devised and implemented beautification efforts. These included renovating front-yard gardens, installing flower containers and adding window boxes on porches.

  • The Urban Tree Connection began work on creating a one-block park, called Pearl Street in Haddington. Pearl Street has become the site of major neighborhood events such as a children's Halloween party.

  • More than 100 children, ages eight to 17, took part in the Urban Tree Connection's gardening groups—clubs and after-school and summer programs that meet regularly to learn skills and create gardens.