While urban revitalization is often stereotyped as dominated by young
professionals and retirees, Census data found that the Greater Center
City area had an even balance of all age groups. Data from the year
2000 indicated an average household size of 1.7 people in the eight
ZIP codes. That figure had ticked up to 1.75 by 2010 — a trend CCD
– attributed to couples opting to raise children in the city.
Forget the cheesesteaks and tri-corner hat, Philadelphia is becoming
known as an art capital. In addition to the world renowned
Philadelphia Museum of Art, the formerly remote Barnes Foundation , a
once private collection of Matisse, Renoir and Cézanne, has a new
central location. And it’s not just the big museums – Philly’s gallery
scene is exploding with new venues like the Icebox garnering
international attention and turning the Northern Liberties and
Fishtown neighborhoods into the new hot arts hub. First Fridays , the
monthly gallery open house, long a tradition in Old City, has expanded
to the refurbished Loft District, where the party goes on in a host of
new bars, clubs and live music venues.
If you care about green cities, you have to like a lot of what’s happening in Philadelphia lately, from land use planning to watershed management to the greening of vacant and blighted lots and, now, the opening of a lively new public space that makes the city a better place to live, work and visit. In particular, last week I learned about The Porch at 30th Street Station, a very promising new plaza just outside the city’s iconic train station. The creation of University City District, an organization dedicated to revitalization and community improvement, The Porch opened last fall and has been hopping all summer with activity. It is at once ambitious and low-key.
Hidden City Philadelphia, a blog you should be reading if you’re not, has a few recent posts on the S.S. United States including pictures and an interview with Steven Ujifusa who recently had a book published about the ship.
“There’s this one side of the coin where people see just this disenchantment and negative view of government,” says Jay Nath, the Chief Innovation Officer for the city of San Francisco. “But there’s also this flip side where people actually believe that working with government, we can make a better solution and better improvements for our society.”
…There are, by our count, just two major cities in the U.S. that currently have someone sitting in this role, and they’ve both settled in within the past six months. Adel Ebeid stepped into the job in Philadelphia after working as the chief information officer for the state of New Jersey. Like Nath, he views his role largely as connecting city hall and all of its resources with a new generation of problem-solvers outside of it.
…The birth of the municipal chief innovation officer job is a response to these two trends: to fundamental changes in technology that are revolutionizing citizen engagement, and to a cultural movement that is turning the data-dense inner workings of city halls into public challenges that are actually kind of a kick to solve.
“There aren’t that many of us right now,” Ebeid says, “but I can tell you we’re certainly an early testbed for what will become mainstream by 2015.”
The majority of the residents of Frankford do not have internet access. The Free Library Branch does offer some service which is very well utilized all day long by students and others but those facilities cannot come close to meeting the demand. The new computer center will help to close the gap.