West Philadelphia Initiatives: A Case Study in Urban Revitalization

September 01, 2004

This report by Fels Research and Consulting members John Kromer and Lucy Kermen looks at the University of Pennsylvania's ambitious neighborhood reinvestment policy.  Penn’s policy, known as the West Philadelphia Initiatives, sought to fundamentally improve the neighborhood surrounding its campus through a major commitment of University leadership,
administrative support, funding, and academic resources.  The policy was sustained over a period of year, and focused on five broad and comprehensive areas:

  • Clean, safe, and attractive streets and neighborhoods
  • Reinvigorated retail options
  • Excellent school options
  • Increased job opportunities through economic inclusion
  • High quality, diverse housing choices

The effort resulted in a number of positive outcomes.  Crime rates declined in the neighborhood.  Streets and public spaces are now reliably cleaned and maintend.  A new University-assisted public school was opened.  The real estate market strengthened.  New retail facilities now draw patrons from both the campus and neighborhood community.  More neighborhood and minority residents and businesses participate in University- sponsored construction projects and the procurement
of supplies and services.  

Written as a case study, Kromer and Kerman's report outlines the development, implementation and results of Penn's policy to help strengthen and grow West Philadlephia from 1994 to 2004.

Click here to read West Philadelphia Initiatives: A Case Study in Urban

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