With words like “glam,” building “pedigree,” “hot” neighborhoods, and “luxification,” Philadelphia Magazine’s Philadelphia’s New Boom article clearly highlights who is going to benefit from our city’s revitalization- the wealthy. The investments are a sign that our city is on the upswing, but with (multi-) million dollar homes being built it is clear that, in some neighborhoods, Philadelphia is facing growing inequality.
Philadelphia has tackled a declining population for decades and our recent resurgence has meant significant changes in our housing market. As a city we are in serious need of a boost to our tax base and this new development can help bring that. But even as housing costs skyrocket, income levels for most Philadelphians are shrinking. Philadelphia remains one of the poorest major cities in the nation and this housing boom does nothing to address the needs of seniors, disabled citizens, and working families- many of whom struggle to stay in the communities they call home.
If our city lets development proceed unchecked, we could soon be facing the same housing crises that plague San Francisco and Boston, where even firefighters and teachers cannot afford to live in the city where they work. We need to make sure that we are preserving affordability in rapidly changing neighborhoods so that those who are committed to and invested in our communities can afford to stay.
We want to see Philadelphia revitalized in a way that does not displace the people who have lived through this city’s disinvestment. We want to be a city where every neighborhood has:
• Economic and racial diversity,
• Affordable, accessible housing options,
• Local businesses that provide good jobs, and
• Access to fresh, local, healthy food and green space.
There are ways to achieve these goals. We hope our city’s leaders will work with us toward solutions so that Philadelphia can be a great city for all of its residents.