Tuesday, March 22, 2005

University City Stand Up

I have mentioned the changes that have been happening in West Philly over the last decade, a result of the University of Pennsylvania's committment to the neighborhood. The University City District put together a study that has confirmed the enormous progress in the neighborhood. The Philadelphia Inquirer finally took time to notice, and did a nice piece on the resurgence of University City over the past decade. It is a wonderful story amid all of the negative developments of the past few weeks in Philly. I won't even mention specifics, as everything is worth noting.

Future projects that have started include the Cira Center office tower, the expansion of Children's Hospital and the eventual development of a life-sciences center in the former 30th Street Station mail annex. I cannot wait to see what comes next, and what new developments are spurred on by the developments above.

Philly Future has already covered this, rightfully noting that it is about time this success is noted. Philadelphia: America's Hometown continues to lead the field, laying all of this out. He also mentions another new development, this one a $100 million construction at the northwest corner of 34th and Chestnut. It will add high-end apartments and stores, bringing more people and money to the neighborhood, and possibly connecting UPenn and Drexel more.

Some questions: what should city government do for University City? What lessons can other neighborhoods take from this rebirth? What has been the keys to this success, and what is necessary to continue this progress? What can North Philly or Southwest Philly take from the University City District and Center City District, which are models for non-governmental neighborhood investment? What will University City look like in another decade? Will it become our Cambridge? Will it extend its reach further into West Philly? So much more to come on all these issues, as it is exciting to think of the possibilites.

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