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Old 04-30-2014, 03:15 AM
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,881,190 times
Reputation: 970


Originally Posted by Blinx View Post

I recently drove up 5th street through Olney and was amazed at how bustling it all was -- crowded with shoppers and most of the businesses looked open. I hope that area (and others like it) never get "improved".

Olney's 5th Street is one of my favorite parts of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, there are very few places like it in Philadelphia. On the other hand, it serves as an obvious model of a third way - of how a commercial district can thrive while being something you necessarily put on a map for tourists to go see or that a college kid wants to live in.

However important lots of young people who like to drink and buy 5 dollar cupcakes think they are, and however much hype Center City gets (much of it deserved, as for what it is, it works very well), it's still an extremely small part of Philadelphia (even the CCD's crazy Center City boundaries of basically Pennsport to Brewerytown/Fishtown accounts for only like 10% of Philadelphia's population).

For all the talk of New York gentrification, there is still something approaching an endless number of streets that work like this up there, especially in the outer boroughs.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:43 AM
11 posts, read 32,541 times
Reputation: 16
As has been stated here many times, it has costs and benefits. I struggle with which outweighs the other.

Benefits: Neighborhoods become more tourist friendly, blighted buildings are turned into coffee shops, bike repair shops, and pet stores. This creates jobs and spending both of which generate tax revenue for the government. There is the obvious benefit of the aesthetic appeal of a gentrified neighborhood.

Costs: The biggest cost is displacement of the poor. Aside from any moral questions of this fact, there is also the economic question. Poor people spend a larger fraction of their income than rich people do. Also, if we take it as given that the government will always help the poor, then helping them will become more expensive for the taxpayer. Why? Because it is generally more cost-effective to live in the city. Displacing the poor means that they no longer have access to rapid transit, and the other benefits of city-life. In a word, displacing the poor boosts the cost of living for them, which is typically covered at least in part by the government.

Therefore, as I see it, this is an empirical question. I would enjoy reading an objectively done study on this topic. My a priori belief is that the Paris model (rich in the city, poor in the burbs) is better in terms of, say, government revenue, than the Detroit model (poor in the city, rich in the burbs). The reason I believe this is that I think the biggest detriment to any urban area is not poverty per se, but the degree of poverty concentration. However, I do not hold strongly to this belief; perhaps the "Detroit model" is better--I am willing to update my belief in light of some objective evidence.

(Note that I use government revenue as a measure of "better" because it can be measured and is thus more objective than some abstract notion of 'quality of life for the average person')
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:06 PM
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
Reputation: 2774
north philadelphia lost hundreds of thousands of people. overall displacement is imaginary. the best way to combat the problem is to allow density as well as quick approval of new units. the fewer the units built the higher the prices and therefore larger impact of income changes
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