Philly is Last Among Ten Biggest Metros in Apartment Construction

(Missing Middle Housing | Image: Opticos Design) A new research snapshot from JLL puts Philadelphia's recent run of apartment construction in a helpful national context, showing that the rental housing "boom" here has really been awfully tiny compared to the last decade in the other nine largest U.S. metros. Continue reading

Let's Make the Affordable Housing Bonuses Extremely Popular

(Awesometown, an affordable housing project by Post Green Homes and NKCDC) The Kenney administration and City Council have been working toward finalizing details of a compromise plan to fund affordable housing, as an alternative to the 1% construction tax that passed Council back in June, which the administration opposed. The compromise plan has two main parts—about $50 million from expiring tax abatements, and about $20 million from the newly-revamped zoning bonuses that allow greater density in housing projects that either include some below-market-rate units or make an in-lieu payment into the Housing Trust Fund.  Continue reading

Cindy Bass Defends, Pulls Back Daycare Ban Bill

(8th District Councilmember Cindy Bass | Photo: Jared Piper, PHL Council) Councilmember Cindy Bass has penned a response to my op-ed in the The Philadelphia Citizen taking issue with the idea that her daycare ban bill 1. is a ban, and 2. is an unusual or misguided response to complaints about daycares. In it, she makes several misleading or incorrect points to bolster what is a very weak case for a District-wide ban. Continue reading

Water Is Wet. Street Trash Cans Reduce Litter, City Behavioral Study Finds

(No shit: Park staff spend more time cleaning up litter when we take trash cans away | Image: CleanPHL) A new behavioral research study undertaken by the City of Philadelphia and three prestigious university research partners has confirmed something so painfully obvious it's actually insane we're wasting time arguing about it: that putting out more public trash cans reduces litter on the streets.  Continue reading

Which Wards Received the Most Money from 2017 District Attorney Candidates?

(Image: Gabrielle Beaudry) Azavea 'Summer of Maps' fellow Gabrielle Beaudry has a new blog post up about a fascinating data project she worked on with Committee of 70 analyzing the flow of money from the 2017 District Attorney campaigns through Democratic ward organizations. The results help shed light on some of the less-understood low-level political machinations in our elections, and Beaudry offers helpful advice on improving campaign finance record-keeping to allow for easier citizen analysis. Continue reading

Philly Politicians' Love for Unfunded Civic Engagement Mandates

(Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting | Photo credit: Maria Pouchnikova) Philadelphia city government wants people to be very engaged.  Continue reading

Cindy Bass's District-Wide Daycare Ban is Councilmanic Prerogative at Its Worst

City Council is back in session for the fall, and with the primary elections coming up next year, some endangered members are looking to make a splash.  Continue reading

"No Direction" at City Office Managing $65 Million in Anti-Poverty Spending

(Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity Executive Director Mitch Little) Following on the new Census numbers showing that Philadelphia's deep poverty rate actually rose in 2017, while wages fell a bit and the overall poverty rate remained the same at around 26%, Claudia Vargas and TyLisa Johnson's report that the city's primary anti-poverty office, the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, is utterly ineffectual with the $65 million it manages is particularly infuriating. Continue reading

Philly Needs A Plan to Capture More of the Region's Growth

One of the more disappointing aspects of what we know about the Kenney administration's Housing Action Plan is the lack of a regional perspective on how we want the Philadelphia region to grow. Continue reading

Kenney Reaches Deal on General Funding for Affordable Housing As Alternative to Construction Tax

(Mid-rise housing construction on North Broad | Photo: Jon Geeting) Mayor Kenney struck a deal with City Council on affordable housing funding Thursday, with a counter-proposal to Council's construction tax bill which narrowly passed the full chamber with a narrow vote of 9-8 back in June. Kenney's alternative proposal would increase general funding to the Housing Trust Fund by $53 million over 5 years, with an additional $18 million projected to come in from in-lieu payments from Mixed Income Housing bonuses.  Continue reading