Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Future of Philadelphia

I mentioned a few weeks ago that this post was coming, and it's finally here. I have a tendency to overthink things, try to make them perfect, and that's the reason for the ridiculous delay on making a short, simple post. With a topic so close to my heart, Philadelphia and its future, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I'd try to make this perfect. I've come to my senses and decided to just do it, and get this new part of Pound for Pound rolling.

It's should be obvious to anyone who knows me or reads this blog that Philadelphia, cities and urban life are the most important things to me. Why this post, why now, why so serious? It wasn't one thing, it was more like a lot of things building up. The death of Jane Jacobs was one such moment, as losing her focused me more on the issues that she thought and fought over. Another would be my growing desire to go back to school to study this further, to get involved in the battle of ideas. Likewise, the knowledge that I will be moving from Philly in the near future has left me a little shook to be honest, a little more critical of the city, a little more nostalgic, a lot more interested in being engaged with the city even if I'm not physically there.

Most of all, it was two conversations I had, one with EC a few months ago and one with my bol MM at the end of last summer. Both work in the legal community, and both (in a few months) will have moved from Philly. Both conversations stressed the reasons this city is losing people that it wants to be keeping here. These are brilliant, funny, attractive, witty, creative people. Both have different stories, different reasons for leaving. I won't get into the specifics, but those conversations will inform some of my criticisms of the city and things that need to change.

I'm not really sure what posts under this topic will look like or consist of. I will label them, so everyone can skip over them and get to the ass 'n' titties portion of the blog. I love my city so much and feel like we are finally moving forward and becoming the 21st Century city I know we can become. That love will hopefully make me a strong critic of our problems, as everyone knows that I'm not some dilettante, NYC/LA snob who has about as much sense of a great city as they do a good bar. I also hope to further the idea that the people of Philly need to acknowledge how great the city has become, stop with the hating and negativity. If you can't deal with the present, you sure won't be much help in the future, so please stay out of the fucking way.

I hope that none of this comes off as pretentious or stupid or boring. If anything, I hope that it can start a conversation about Philadelphia or any of the great cities of the world like New York, Paris, Prague, you know the list. Cities are a passion and source of inspiration for Pound for Pound, hopefully my support for them can pay back all that they have given me.


wildflower seed said...

I am finishing up my Phd in Boston and moving to Philadelphia in the Fall. Been there only twice for job interviews, but I really liked what I saw. Looking forward to it.

EO said...

Firstly, it breaks my heart, the heart of Philly, that you are leaving in the near future. Secondly, I totally agree that the city does NOT do enough to prevent the massive hemorrhage that is the brain drain of this city. It seems like there are tons of folks who are doing stuff to attract young people towards social gatherings, which are important to build a sense of connection and community, but social life only goes so far when young people who work hard can't afford to live/work in the city and don't feel safe here.

Anonymous said...

I've just recently come across this blog and I enjoy a lot of the comments, music, posts, links, and all the rest. I particularly enjoy your takes on the fair city of Philly. As a proud Philly boy, I share many of your concerns. It is a shame you are leaving as the city needs more people like you who are thinking, writing, creating, and doing.
TJ from NW Philly