Location, Location, Location (and better PR)
Our fine urban city must do a better job when it comes to public relations. When someone move to this area, whether it be for a job or school, the city must flex its muscle to attract residents to settle within its confines. When a friend of mine moved here in 2001 (recruited, no less), his company did not even show him Center City or any parts of Philadelphia, but whisked him out to the far flung burgs of Wayne and Paoli. As a gay man, accustomed to the niceties of midtown Atlanta, he promptly retorted “Where the hell are the sidewalks and stores not in strip malls and”….well you get the point.
There are many wonderful neighborhoods – – I even found a site dedicated to the Historic Northwest Neighborhoods of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, and Germantown. When I tell people I live in the Mt. Airy/Germantown area, they don’t have clue where it is, although the neighborhoods have the highest concentration of historic buildings in SE Pennsylvania outside center city.
Perhaps, we should follow the ways of Paris and divide the city into arrondissements and each year slate one for a major renewal project – – one year it could be Frankford and Girard Estates the next. This could be a novel idea in American urban planning…these could public works, a botanical garden or state of the art library. Residents of the neighborhood (or shall we say arrondissement) would have input into what would have a positive impact…each project could be underwritten by a local corporation such as GlaxoSmithKline or Vanguard (this is America, after all, and Philly isn’t exactly flush with cash).