New Report Shows What's Good for Center City's Economy is Good for Neighborhoods

(Image: Center City District) Center City District's new State of Center City report is full of great statistics about the amazing growth of Philadelphia's downtown business district, as well as some of the underlying weaknesses we still face in competing with other big cities, and our nearby suburban municipalities for jobs, residents, and tax base. Continue reading

Committee of Seventy Releases Plan for a More Accountable City Council

(City Council Districts) The new Democratic House majority in Washington has prioritized an ambitious political reform package, H.R. 1, as their first item of business, which would overhaul important aspects of the voting and campaigning landscape with the aim of expanding voting rights and restoring trust in the political system. Local government reform organization Committee of Seventy wants to harness some of that national momentum for a local anti-corruption, pro-accountability push, and this week they released an agenda they're calling Philadelphia Resolution 1 designed to strengthen our local democracy and governing institutions. Continue reading

Philadelphia Grew for the 12th Straight Year Since 2006

New Census figures released Thursday revealed that Philadelphia county's population grew for the twelfth straight year since 2006, increasing by 3,917 residents between 2017 and 2018. Philadelphia's growth outpaced most of the southeastern suburban counties, powered mostly by immigration and births. Continue reading

Jannie Blackwell Wants the Free Library to Throw Her Pre-Election Pep Rallies

(Image: Philadelphia City Council) It's budget season in City Council, and that means it's time for one of City Council to exercise one of their most important functions, which is holding accountable all the various departments and entities that receive public funding. Some Council members are better at this job than others, and some just use it to score political points and special favors. At the Free Library's hearing yesterday, we saw a particularly flagrant example of the latter from 3rd District Councilmember Jannie Blackwell. Continue reading

Poverty Concentration and Disinvestment Are Still Philadelphia’s Biggest Neighborhood Change Problems

A new report and mapping project from William Stancil at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Institute of Metropolitan Opportunity presents a novel way of visualizing different types of neighborhood change over two decades in regions across the United States, adding an important new layer of context to the debates over gentrification and displacement. In Philadelphia, the report's findings highlight the extent to which displacement through disinvestment is by far the biggest neighborhood change problem that most neighborhoods are struggling with.  Continue reading

Why Our Frustrating Assessment Politics Isn't Going Away

Property taxes are always a hot-button issue, especially in a city with such an unusually high number of homeowners, and few issues tend to kick the bees' nest quite like reassessments.  Continue reading

Johnson Blames Entirety of Graduate Hospital Gentrification on Powerless Neighbor Group

(Photo: David Swanson, Philadelphia Inquirer) In one of the more ridiculous comments we'll probably hear this primary season, 2nd District Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson blamed the entirety of Graduate Hospital gentrification on the South of South Neighbors Association, a mostly powerless community organization run by unpaid volunteers. Continue reading

New Historic Preservation Recs Show How Philly Can Have Both More Housing and More Preservation

(Image: NYC.gov) The Kenney administration, 1st District Councilmember Mark Squilla, and preservation advocates released the final recommendations of Mayor Kenney's 33-member Historic Preservation Task Force this week, and their top actionable priorities point to an appealing vision for how we can have both more preservation and more housing that's very much in keeping with the new politics of zoning remapping that we'd written about previously.  Continue reading

Elections About Nothing: The Simple Reason Why Philly's Row Office Elections Need to Go

An Inquirer op-ed this week making the case for eliminating Register of Wills elections closes with a pretty good general principle for evaluating whether a position should be elected or appointed: if nobody can tell what the political content of the election is, then it's a poor candidate for an election.  Continue reading

Philly Dems Endorse, Then Un-Endorse, Jewell Williams for Sheriff

(Jewell Williams posing with Bill Keller, Darrell Clarke, and Anthony Williams) In a surprise move, Philadelphia Democratic City Committee has revoked their two-day-old endorsement of Sheriff Jewell Williams's reelection after the endorsement sparked public outcry from activists and the media. Continue reading