Thursday, June 09, 2005

Looking back at NTI

One of Phila Mayor John Street's most important priorities when he came into office was "improving the neighborhoods," and one of his first big programs was the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (or NTI). It is just starting its fifth and final year, amid some celebration and the departure of its longtime chair. U.Penn. researcher and Daily News columnist Mark Alan Hughes looks back at the program's tenure and concludes that the emperor has no clothes.
NTI was a pile of money, and its only strategic imperative was to be spent. Without a core strategy, NTI was little more than a story told by the mayor about the effects of absentee landlords and boarded-up windows.

... without core values, NTI absorbed any good idea that came along. The problem began when Mayor Street decided to sell NTI as program for every neighborhood, changing it from an anti-blight initiative into a giant municipal entitlement.
Instead of being the equivalent of Street's car-towing campaign, catching the city up on many years' backlog of derelict and dangerous properties, NTI started funding sidewalk sweepers, community gardens, and a host of small distributed items that could never combine to really transform anything in a substantial way -- and half the crumbling houses are still standing.

You can only please all of the people some of the time, John, and the bleaker neighborhoods were hoping for more.

(via America's Hometown)

Update: The South Philly Review also gives its take on the successes and failures of NTI.

(via Politics Philly)


Post a Comment

<< Home