March 4, 2014 |
PEOPLE FROM all over Philadelphia came together Saturday to tell their stories about gentrification at the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia. Organizers had issued fliers calling for an "emergency town hall" to confront a "crisis facing black Philadelphia: the demise of our neighborhoods. " In gentrification, some neighborhoods are targeted for revitalization - but the new development leads to huge rent or property-tax increases that often force longtime residents out. Sister Empress Phile, one of the organizers, said the group will host more town halls and ask for more public meetings, including congressional hearings.
July 27, 2013 |
In too many Philadelphia circles, there's a view that the answer to the city's poverty pandemic is to just open more coffee shops, more restaurants, more yoga studios. More Center City, in other words. In this view, virtuous "urban pioneers" - as they sometimes call themselves, seemingly unaware of what that phrase implies about the neighborhoods they are settling in - are eradicating poverty block by block, renovating row homes and old warehouses, or building townhomes on formerly vacant lots.
April 17, 2013 |
The 2300 block of Christian Street sits squarely in Graduate Hospital, for more than a decade one of the city's hottest neighborhoods, where new homes and residents have translated into skyrocketing prices. While about half the homes are filled with newcomers, the block also reflects the strong attachment Philadelphians have traditionally shared with their neighborhoods. The other half of the homes there have had the same owners for an average of 27 1/2 years, according to a City Council analysis, including three under the same ownership for more than 50 years.
April 8, 2013 |
Baltimore's Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, once the city's supreme skyscraper, always delivers a smile. It's a symbol of kitsch and nostalgia, like the city itself. It's a reminder of a gritty past and an uncertain present. Joe Wall, the tower's facility manager, is leading a free tour of the Clock Room, with the story of the tower's heyday (a 20-ton blue bottle of the headache remedy sat atop the building), its decline (a stereotypical Baltimore tale of neglect and despair), and its renaissance (reborn as artists' studios)
November 13, 2012 |
WINDING ROSES PARK in Francisville has for years been "a place of celebration. " The lush "arts garden" includes mosaic tiles on stone tables and benches with rosebushes around it, along with an elegant mural on the wall with giant pink roses at the bottom and smaller ones that spiral up a brick trellis. "It's a beautiful oasis," Una Vee Bruce, a longtime Francisville community activist, said of the park. When it opened in the 1990s, neighbors celebrated birthdays and graduations there.
June 6, 2012 |
Philadelphia City Council on Tuesday voted a bill out of committee that would provide property-tax relief to longtime homeowners in gentrified neighborhoods — mostly areas that saw soaring property values from new construction and rehabilitated homes after the city began offering a 10-year tax abatement on the value of improvements. The bill would allow residents who have lived in those areas for more than a decade to cap increases in their assessed market values at triple their current value.
April 22, 2012 |
Coming Apart, the book I published a few months ago, tracks the cultural divergences in America's classes from 1960 to 2010, focusing on whites as a way of getting people to understand that the problems I describe aren't driven by minorities. I used Belmont, an affluent Boston suburb, as my label for the white upper middle class, and Fishtown, referring to Philadelphia's own Fishtown, one of the oldest white working-class communities in America, as my label for the white working class.
September 22, 2011 |
Mama Turner has died, and she hasn't been tucked away for more than a couple hours before the fighting between her two grown daughters begins. Her son tries to be the buffer, but old wounds still itch and burn, and aged Papa is too senile to understand what's going on. What's going on is gentrification in the African American neighborhood where the Turners built a family, raised their kids, watch their grandchildren - and then their great-granddaughter -...
August 15, 2011
By Akili Nkrumah, Carla Harris, and Philé Chionesu The Philadelphia City Planning Commission's recently completed comprehensive plan, designed to shape the city's land-use and other priorities for the next 25 years, is unfortunately a blueprint for the gentrification of African American, Latino, and poor white neighborhoods, as well as a chronicle of the utter neglect of their interests. It represents a breathtaking capitulation by the city's African American, Latino, and supposedly progressive leadership.
June 22, 2011
RE "In G-Ho, the Pendulum Swings Again," about gentrification in Southwest Center City and the declining black population there: Rev. Clarence Martin's comment that "when THEY redo the houses, the houses are not affordable to those people" really irked me. The people who ran these homes into the ground were paid for their property by the people who moved in. He said they moved to places like Southwest Philadelphia - and don't I know it....