(Photo by Al B For Photography)
On Nov. 5, 2015, the Organization of World Heritage Cities declared Philadelphia the first U.S. member. But where do we go from here?
As we’ve been told before, World Heritage City status recognizes Philadelphia’s history, culture and contributions to the global community and aids the city’s efforts to increase tourism. Now, there’s a plan for making that happen.
Last Thursday, Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) board chair John Smith presented the GPA’s World Heritage Strategic Plan during a celebration of Solidarity Day of the World Heritage Cities in front of representatives from city and state government, as well as other World Heritage Cities.
“Janus, the god of beginnings and endings in the Roman Pantheon … looks to the past and ahead to the future,” Smith said. “Janus actually symbolizes what we are about today: looking back with pride with what Philadelphia has accomplished, but more importantly, looking forward to the future and a new status for our city.”
The strategic plan, developed with the participation of over 200 Philadelphians, has three goals, according to the executive summary:
- “To promote preservation and appreciation of our geographical historical and cultural heritage through the World Heritage City designation and continued education
- To provide a powerful economic and cultural stimulus to the region
- To inspire citizens and residents to feel pride in their World Heritage City”
The plan also outlines objectives in seven categories — neighborhood and community development, history and preservation, international relations, education, tourism and hospitality, arts and culture, and business and nonprofit organizations — plus a series of actions designed to achieve each objective.
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For instance, to use the city’s businesses and social impact orgs to reach the city’s full “WHC potential,” GPA plans to “advocate for direct, nonstop air service to more global cities” and “encourage greater international trade activity.”
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