Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Center City Philadelphia -- where's it headed?

The Inquirer today offers a collection of pieces looking at Center City and its health, prospects, trends, and other viewpoints.

  1. Center City renaissance -- population boom and retail growth fuel a comeback.
    Though Philadelphia as a whole is still losing residents, Center City has the third-largest downtown population after New York and Chicago. Since 2000, its population has increased 11.5 percent, from 78,902 to 88,000. Experts say it could reach 96,000 to 105,000 by 2010.

    Retail occupancy in Center City is now at 90 percent - 3 percent higher than 2004. This year, the Urban Land Institute listed Center City among the nation's top 10 for urban retailing.
    The Center City District is even defining itself with ever-broadening boundaries...

  2. Rising prices threaten neighborhood character -- a look at the challenges of maintaining shared and/or open space (or even parking lots) once that land becomes much more valuable, with a little reiteration of the similar theme that homeowners can be squeezed by rising property taxes.

  3. Center City schools get special attention in the attempt to keep up with the growth of population in the area and the demands of its prospective parents. Of course, it's a delicate matter to try to retain these high-end families without neglecting the rest of the school district, or seeming to...

  4. A short piece looks at the demographic make-up of Center City. Most notable is that the number of young adults (25-35) has doubled in the last couple of decades.

  5. New voters could shake up city politics.
    Without deep neighborhood ties, the new residents appear to have less allegiance to longtime leaders and the party structure itself. Authorities have noticed an uptick in the number of people picking the "nonpartisan" affiliation when they register to vote in the two main Center City wards.
    Of course, those registered as nonpartisans get left out of the important action taking place in primaries. But perhaps they can be reached via government reform and other issues that matter to them more than factional infighting...


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