Friday, October 25, 2013

Philadelphia's progress is alive and well in "Four Square Blocks"

Snyderman-Works Galleries | Old City, Philadelphia

For someone who was born just outside the city's limits, but has now lived in Philadelphia for 15 years, I have seen various impressions of our great city.

From both locals and transplants alike.

I have personally found that those who were born in the city during its decline, and moved out when the suburbs were growing, tend to have a love/hate relationship with the city. Honestly, I don't blame them as they witnessed neighborhoods go from thriving, job-heavy, and low-crime to the complete opposite; a good number of those neighborhoods are still stuck in that same routine.

That's what change is, and it happens everyday.

I have also personally found that those who have never been to Philadelphia before, or visited for their first time within the last 10 years, have a completely different perspective of our great city. Honestly, I don't blame them either as they describe Philadelphia as having character, urbanity, and great energy.

That's what change has produced, and it's still happening everyday.

Now that I have been in the city long enough to visit most neighborhoods, and experience a lot of what Philadelphia has to offer, I personally see progress. What do I mean by progress? I mean that Philadelphia as a whole is really starting to realize its true potential. That potential was always there, especially when our city was considered one of the most important and influential in the nation; but when the jobs left during/after deindustrialization, so did its momentum and promise.

Fast forward ahead about 50+ years, and most will tell you that momentum is back in Philadelphia's corner. Do we have unemployment and poverty issues? Yes. Are our politics/systems outdated and antiquated? Yes. Do some people, who have lived here their entire lives, still have absolutely no hope that this city will ever turn around? Yes.

"So then what the h*ll are you talking about, Tim?"

I'm talking about the importance of cities as the preferred spot to live among younger generations.

I'm talking about how the rise of "Eds & Meds" is propelling cities into global status.

I'm talking about large, urban, and highly-rated universities where students are now staying, working, creating more jobs, and planning their futures.

I'm talking about technology and entrepreneurship, and their importance in reshaping the overall economy.

I'm talking about walkability, bikeability, sustainable living, parks, small businesses, established community groups, and ... location, location, location.

These are things that drive growth in cities today, and Philadelphia is jam packed with them (on top of that, our location is hard to beat). It's articles like this one that help me realize how significant Philadelphia is to the American landscape, and its continued promise that lies just ahead.

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