Pew Report: Philadelphia’s Middle Class Is Shrinking

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Philadelphia middle class, a backbone of economic vitality that once made up the majority of residents in most of the city’s neighborhoods, has declined in steep numbers since 1970, from 59 percent to 42 percent by 2010, according to a report released Monday, the first of its kind.

The precipitous decline of adults within this long-celebrated class occurred widely across the city and most sharply before 2000, sparing only chunks of Far Northeast Philadelphia and Roxborough and smaller pockets elsewhere. Those areas remained majority middle-class as of a few years ago, said the Pew Charitable Trusts, which spearheaded the study.

The data capture what has been sensed and dreaded by policymakers for years: Philadelphia is decidedly poorer than when it was a manufacturing powerhouse, losing even a greater share of higher-taxpaying middle-class residents than the nation as a whole, and failing even to see increases in its upper-class population to match other cities that fared better.

Whether middle-class Philadelphians fell into a lower-income class, moved into the suburbs, or died is not shown by Pew’s analysis, as researchers have found such detailed tracking to be elusive.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140225_New_Pew_report_shows_city_s_middle-class_shrinking.html#GakidtL6rbcd5xYK.99

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New Pittsburgh Government Set To Launch As Peduto Has Laid Out Some Lofty Goals

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Saturday, incoming Mayor Bill Peduto began his move into the mayoral wing on the fifth floor of the City-County Building in advance of today’s inauguration, when he will officially take the reins of city government.

The Rev. Terry O’Connor, son of the late Mayor Bob O’Connor and brother to Councilman Corey O’Connor, blessed the space with a sprinkling of holy water. The floors were mopped.

For a man who has pledged to “clean up city hall” and who gave his victory speech while clutching a broom, it was an apropos entrance.

Mr. Peduto has expounded on that theme for more than a year, calling the administration of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl corrupt and saying that the city needs to move away from the old-style politics if it wants to progress. And if he holds to his campaign pledges, he will represent a monumental shift in both style and substance in the mayor’s office.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/06/New-Pittsburgh-government-set-to-launch-as-Peduto-has-laid-out-some-lofty-goals/stories/2014010601030000000#ixzz2pdpIux3L

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A Hard Look At The Future Of Chinatowns

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People who stroll through Chinatown on Saturday nights bathe in the lights of intriguing new restaurants, hip tea shops, and stylish lounges.

But moving beneath that shiny exterior, as strong and powerful as an underground river, is a torrent of forces that threaten the neighborhood’s very existence.

An influx of luxury housing, rising rents and land values, a soaring white population, and slipping Asian population could mean the end of Chinatown’s 140-year role as a gateway for immigrants and a regional hub for culture and family.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by a civil rights and education group that examined two decades of property and demographic records in the three big eastern Chinatowns – New York’s, Boston’s, and Philadelphia’s.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131111_A_hard_look_at_the_future_of_Chinatowns.html#ra7F8e0Rev0gffuc.99

Town By Town: Somerton, A Suburban Feel In The City

Somerton is rare among Philadelphia neighborhoods: Its borders are fairly clear.

“It’s really more of a square,” says Seth Kaplan, 28, who grew up in Bustleton and chose to buy his first home here in 2009.  The house – where Kaplan, chief of staff for State Rep. Kevin Boyle, lives with wife Melissa, son Dylan, 3, and daughter Michaela, 2 – had “a low sale price in a great neighborhood,” though it “needed to be completely gutted.”

Easily discernible borders are just one thing in Somerton’s favor.  Another, says Keller-Williams real estate agent Mike Fitzpatrick, is a “strong sense of community and the political wherewithal to keep it that way.”

With a view of Montgomery County to the northwest and Bucks County to the northeast, Somerton has the feel of the suburbs without being there.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20130602_Town_By_Town__Somerton__a_suburban_feel_in_the_city.html#dPS2LuesjGDwoLux.99

Town By Town: Haddington, A Growing Area In West Philadelphia

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting West Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time 60th Street in Haddington was called “Real Estate Row,” because of the 22 realty offices that lined both sides of the thoroughfare.

Given the changing fortunes of the housing market, that time has past in many places, not just this nearly one-mile-square chunk of West Philadelphia hugging the Market-Frankford El – which, not surprisingly, was the catalyst for the neighborhood’s birth in 1903 and subsequent growth.

Sandidge & Co., at 40 N. 60th St., is the lone survivor on Real Estate Row, and after 50 years in business, broker E. Paul Sandidge remains “the authority” on real estate in the neighborhood, says Terry Guerra, director of special projects for the nonprofit ACHIEVEability, which has its headquarters in Haddington.

ACHIEVEability owns more than 200 properties throughout Haddington and Cobbs Creek, where its clients live while they complete two- and four-year academic programs to become nurses, social workers, teachers, and computer specialists.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20130505_Town_By_Town__Haddington__a_growing_area_in_W__Phila_.html

Pennsylvania’s Two Big Cities Rank High On Urban Vitality Index

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

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The Creative Cities International’s “Vitality Index,” has listed our two biggest cities as number eleven and twelve on their list of the top 35 U.S. cities.  The index measures such things as demographics, cultural offerings and recreational amenities, such as parks and trails; as well as conducting surveys of neighborhood life, attitudes and atmosphere.

Pittsburgh ranked number eleven and Philadelphia ranked number twelve.

To read all about the survey, click here:

http://www.creativecities.org/VI%20exec%20summary%20071811.pdf