Kensington was the workshop of the “Workshop of the World,” and South Kensington – also known as Old Kensington – was the home of many of those workshops. Deindustrialization hit the neighborhood hard, but it also left in place factory buildings that are now being converted into distinctive living spaces for artists, teachers and ordinary people. Along with this adaptive reuse, new construction projects that carry the growth of Northern Liberties northward across Girard Avenue have brought both gated-community-style living and new eco-conscious individual townhomes to this community.
Like South Kensington to its southwest, East Kensington has its share of old factory buildings; while some have been lost to fire and vandals, others have also been converted much like their counterparts across Front Street. In contrast to South Kensington, however, East Kensington also has a sizable stock of single-family rowhomes that have been spruced up and renovated to accommodate younger buyers making their way north from Fishtown. Many of these buyers learned about East Kensington’s appeal from some unique local instutions, including Greensgrow Farm and the annual Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, the most colorful of the city’s oversized block parties.