Category Archives: PhillyFuture.org

See Philadelphia in a new (and old) light: Developing Philly and The Great Experiment

“Developing Philly” just posted the fourth update in its ongoing series to share the evolving and growing Philadelphia technology and media scene with the world. Each episode is under 15 minutes and is worth every minute of your time.

I feel so much a part of this, and I hope you do too. We are making this happen.

Here’s the latest:

Make sure to catch the all of the ongoing series!

Along similar lines, but coming from a place that is less from the ground up and focused on Philadelphia’s place as “America’s first city” is “The Great Experiment”, which recently published an inspirational trailer you have to see:

To my friends and family who are stuck thinking about Philadelphia in a negative light, who have never seen the city for all it is, the truth of our home is varied and exciting. There is so much to do, and so much to fight for. I’m proud to still call this city home.

“Rebuilding the News”, How Did We Get Here and Why?

All great innovations come from an alchemy of the present *built* on the past. If you can tear it apart, see it from multiple perspectives, and observe the feedback loops that feed into the systems that drove you where you are currently, then you have a powerful tool.

That’s what makes C.W. Anderson’s “Rebuilding the News: Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age” important.

Far more than a “how the sausage is made” account of how things worked for a period of time (see the bravely open piece from “A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013″, by Alexis C. Madrigal in the Atlantic), or a historical record, it peels the onion on 2000-2010 newspaper media, and reveals the opportunities, stress, and strain of the time and lessons that can be derived from them.

I’ll have it on my bookshelf next to “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, since it seems to be so reflective of it, without intention of it.

You know, “How the Sausage is Made” is a terrible metaphor, one that I never heard until I worked at Philly.com.

In a conversation I talked about sharing the some of the decision making workflow (why do certain stories make it to the home page, how can something or someone influence that), with users of the site. When I brought up this idea, someone replied that “No one likes to see how the sausage is made.” There were nods to the wisdom of this assessment, and the conversation moved on.

Me? I can’t help but watch “How It’s Made” in marathon sessions where I melt into the couch. I like inside baseball knowledge, it gives me context into why things work the way they do, and how they came about.

I believe on a visceral level that when a group is attempting to do something “new”, and they refuse to even acknowledge the experience of the past, what you end up with is more of the same, or more of what took place further back in history. Sometimes that’s appropriate. Those lessons give you an advantage and a springboard to success. Sometimes those lessons can teach us what not to do.

That’s why I’m so optimistic about where we are now. There are a lot of lessons that are being put to practice by organizations and people all across Philly. That alchemy of past and present is in full swing like never before, with the belief you need to keep, that you can make things better.

Disclaimer, yes, I’m in this book. Philly Future is in this book. Norgs is in this book. So are many people who I respect and admire who have worked so hard over the past ten years, in a tumultuous line of work, that is important to our world, are in this book.

And part of me feels a little bit shamed for letting my participation in all this drop on the floor 7 years or so ago. But only a little since I wouldn’t trade these 7 years for anything. So, for some closure, I’m going to follow Chris Wink’s advice and ‘write that post’ sometime soon.

For more on the book:

Listen to a great interview with C.W. Anderson at newbooksincommunications.com.

Read Mathew Ingram at paidContent, “The biggest roadblock to media success? A traditional culture of journalistic hubris”

Buy it: “Rebuilding the News: Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age”

A place to be this First Friday – see Albert Yee’s “Hands That Feed Us”

Albert Yee’s latest project, “Hands that Feed Us: A Peek Inside Our Foodshed” will be on display this First Friday, July 1st, 2011 from 6:30PM to 10PM at Gravy Studio.

Like Howard Hall, I’m a long time admirer of Albert’s work. He is, like Howard notes, an artist, and his photography has lit my imagination time and again over the years. Not only that, he’s one half of the great food blogger team “Messy and Picky”. Some of the more recent posts here on paradox1x.org have been influenced by Albert’s advice to me to share more of my own story, and his involvement at Philly Future way back when was crucial to it becoming the service it was at the time. I’m so thankful for connecting with him over this half a decade and am very excited to share this event. Get out to this and go folks.

Must reading about Kensington at Philly.com

The Inquirer recently wrapped up a series about the struggles faced in Kensington and Philadelphia’s First Congressional District – the 2nd hungriest in the nation: “Hunger in the First”:

Following this series, no doubt brought on by the horror of the Kensington strangler, was a greater spotlight cast by the papers on the neighborhood that included a great set of independent articles:

All are worth reading.

An article that introduces us to a new news effort coming *from* Kensington deserves a special shout out because it is efforts like this that point us towards the future or news and maybe the neighborhood itself: “Philadelphia duo bring Internet attention to Kensington’s woes”. That duo is Richie Antipuna and Heather Barton and their video series can be found on Blip.tv.

I just had to round up these articles and post them to one page since the subject matter was so related. Now if there was a place to discuss these stories collectively. Reddit’s Philadelphia sub-reddit perhaps? That feels wrong. The stories need an official home someplace where people from the neighborhood and outside the neighborhood can discuss them collectively. Why do I care about that? Because when people connect over subject matter that is when ideas can take shape and action can take place.

Pew: Rate of people moving into Philly increasing, rate of people leaving decreasing

“Pew Study Finds an Increase in People Moving Into Philadelphia, Outpacing the Rise in Departures”.

We still have a long way to go, but it is proof positive that Philadelphia’s long march towards being a great place to live and work is starting to get recognized.

Check out these upcoming events: Ignite Philly and TEDXPhilly.

Update: I’ve modified the headline of this post (previously: “Pew: More moving INTO Philly than leaving”) to better reflect the report’s findings. Terrific progress being made nevertheless. Go Philly!

Will Bunch: “The day Philly stopped being a joke”

Will Bunch: “The day Philly stopped being a joke”:

Everyone said the real problem was that Philadelphia — the nation’s sixth largest city and fourth largest TV market, birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution — was a victim of a strange condition: low civic self-esteem. And what brought that on? A lot of things, some of them self-inflicted like our “corrupt and content” political culture — but there was also a severe case of sibling jealousy, the sibling being our colonial cousin of New York City.

Even at the start of the 19th Century, Philadelphia was still the center of the nation’s culture and higher learning — and then the Industrial Revolution hit. Philly plunged right in, manufacturing everything under the sun, from steam locomotives to Stetson hats. New York decided instead to manage — and occasionally gamble — the profits. You know how that worked out (when was the last time you wore a Stetson hat — or were transported by a steam locomotive?) Just 100 miles to the northeast, New York became a black-hole-like force, sucking the energy from Philadelphia, stealing everything from our talented college grads to foreign tourists who never even saw the nation’s founding city as they whizzed down the New Jersey Turnpike from the Statue of Liberty to the Washington Monument. New York got Broadway, the UN, the World’s Fair…and baseball. The Yankees won more World Series’ than any other team, while the Phillies lost more games than any other franchise in America — in any sport. Even the Mets, who didn’t exist until 1962, won a World Series before the Phillies finally did in 1980.

Bad behavior became the mask for a city’s collective anxiety. It wasn’t just the notorious 700 Level at the dank, concrete Veterans Stadium, where wearing an opponent’s jersey meant maybe sparing your life…maybe. Here at the Philadelphia Daily News, back when the Eagles became title contenders (but nothing more, of course) in the 2000s, we had a regular feature that inside the newsroom was officially known as “hater’s guides” to the cities that the Eagles were playing that week, even if the “city” was actually a Wisconsin Nice burg like Green Bay. You didn’t need Sigmund Freud to diagnose the pathology of Philly’s “haters guides.”

Then there was a day when everything seemed to change.

Read the whole thing. It’s fantastic.

The story in Detroit resembels the story in (some) Philadelphia neighborhoods

Amid industrial devastation and abandonment, low prices, infrastructure, and urban settings are luring new home owners willing to take a chance.

That’s the story of Fishtown, Port Richmond, Frankford, and parts of West Philly in Philadelphia.

According to the NYTimes, that’s the story of Detroit as well.

Here’s to reinvention and believing that when we live together, we are more likely to have enriched lives than when we live far apart.

Related:

Boing Boing: Haunting photo-essay on rotting buildings in Detroit

Boing Boing: Detroit and the future of America