Neighborhood Stabilization and Safety in East North Philadelphia, 1998 - 2010

December 12, 2010

The University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government has issued a second report in its series on how public investment guided by strategic planning can revitalize abandoned and disinvested communities.

Neighborhood Stabilization and Safety in East North Philadelphia, 1998-2010 provides evidence of improving social outcomes for a section of North Philadelphia that lies east of the Temple University main campus. During the past decade, one of Philadelphia’s leading community development corporations, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, the Association of Puerto Ricans on the March, or APM, has developed hundreds of well-designed sales and rental housing units and a new supermarket on formerly vacant parcels within the area. A greening program undertaken in coordination with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, PHS, has also brought well-tended grass and trees to once-neglected lots.  [See earlier report: Vacant Property Reclamation through Strategic Investment.]

This newest report acknowledges that these “bricks and mortar” improvements, by themselves, are not sufficient to bring about the revitalization of economically disinvested communities, and compiles evidence of improving social outcomes in the APM area. According to research compiled by the Fels Institute, serious crimes here have declined an average of 5.7% per year, the flood of residents leaving the area has ceased, and the neighborhood has begun to attract working families.

“Physical development must be accompanied by human capital development—that combination of education, training, and health and human services support, accessible in a safe environment, that provides neighborhood residents with the best prospects for moving out of poverty and into the middle class” Fels Institute Senior Consultant John Kromer, who organized and supervised the research project, in coordination with APM staff, said.  The project was funded through a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

Read the full report: Neighborhood Stabilization and Safety in East North Philadelphia, 1998-2010 [PDF]

Plan Philly has published an excellent multimedia series on the transformation of the APM area, available at Desolate to Dynamic: the planning, patience & politics that made it possible to reclaim an abandoned North Philadelphia neighborhood.

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