Governing Mag Thinks Philly Fixed Its Corruption Problem. Seriously.

(Former DA Seth Williams, in oil painting form) Alan Greenblatt at Governing Magazine has a new article holding Philly up as a national example for how to prevent political corruption. Yeah, about that.  Continue reading

Jumpstart Germantown Program Shows Why Zoning Remapping Matters

(Photo: Andrew Theyer | Philadelphia Inquirer) Northwest Philly developer Ken Weinstein of Philly Office Retail has been running a neat program called Jumpstart Germantown for the past two years, where he trains and coaches people to manage small development projects in Germantown, and critically, provides loan financing for those projects.  Continue reading

The Case for a Gentrification Dividend

(What if North Philadelphia neighbors got a cut of this building's property tax bill? | Image: Philadelphia Inquirer) New construction of homes and office buildings is an important part of Philadelphia's continued economic growth, and Philly has generally been doing a lot better of a job than many other cities at building enough homes to keep up with the demand for housing.  Continue reading

Don't Overthink Electric Vehicle Parking Reform

Earlier this spring, Councilmembers Mark Squilla and David Oh teamed up to pass a two-year moratorium on new electric vehicle charging stations after a few outspoken residents of Society Hill complained about the impact on curb parking for regular cars. Continue reading

Why PA Needs to Sell More Liquor Licenses

(Wine at Acme is awesome. It's also going to kill Philly's independent restaurant industry. | Photo: Jon Geeting) The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is on track to run out of money in the next few years, potentially putting taxpayers in the absurd position of subsidizing retail alcohol sales. It’s a problem of the state legislature’s making—and one they have the opportunity to solve. They should, for the benefit of us all. Continue reading

Won't Anyone Think of the Tax Base?

(Rendering: Women's Community Revitalization Project) Claudia Vargas's piece on how Councilmembers reserve city-owned land for favored developers and projects is both a great lens into why Philly continues to have more vacant land than any other large city, and a frustrating example of how nobody cares about the city tax base. Continue reading

Umpteenth Study Proves Parking Increases Housing Costs

(Fergie Tower: 300 units, hold the parking costs) A new study by economist Kevin Gillen for local brokerage firm Houwzer is the latest addition to the huge stockpile of evidence that bundling parking with housing makes houses more expensive. Continue reading

City Government's Expensive IT Problems Also Have Far-Reaching Policy Consequences

The City is still awarding public properties to tax-delinquent businesses, Ryan Briggs reports, despite recent efforts to sync revenue data with L+I's permitting software.  Continue reading

Jim Kenney: Tear Down Thomas Paine Plaza

(Image: Philadelphia City Planning Commission) After a horrifying weekend of racist violence in Charlottesville, VA, in which white a supremacist demonstrator murdered counter-protestor Heather Heyer and injured dozens more, civil rights activists are more emboldened than ever to remove racist statues and symbols of white supremacy from public spaces in cities.  Continue reading

These Are the Stations Where Council Should Use Their New Transit-Oriented Development Tools

(Paseo Verde, Philly's most celebrated transit-oriented development project | Photo: Urban Land Institute) City Council passed an important piece of legislation at the end of their Spring session that didn't get much media attention, but has the potential to be a really big deal if Councilmembers decide to use it as intended.  Continue reading