As stated by Harris Steinberg
in this article
, Philadelphia has a sense of "renewed urbanity
." That's a great way of putting it, but it requires more reading
to fully understand it.The Oval
is a great example of Philadelphia's new found embrace of its public spaces, but it's definitely not the only one. Sister Cities Park
and the Race Street Pier
are other relevant examples or reusing what we have.
In the last 10 years or so, Center City has truly taken off. Not only
from a real estate agent's perspective, but from a resident's
perspective as well.
Back during my undergrad days at La Salle University (that's right, the recent NCAA "Sweet 16 Cinderella"
from 1997-2001, Center City was almost an afterthought for people my
age. Unless you went to Penn or Drexel, you really didn't venture down
there that often; unless there was a specific reason to (e.g. museums,
famous sandwiches, etc.). In other words, people in their
late-teens/early-twenties were more focused on Manayunk
Don't get me wrong, there was definitely a lot of development going on
in Center City during the last boom, but it was different than it is
It's interesting how things change so fast. That was only 15 years ago.
Now, Center City is booming. So much so that it has inspired University City to get up
and form solid working relationships with their local universities and
hospitals, while also breaking borders with their own neighborhoods
in/around Center City. These days, when people refer to Center City,
they are thinking beyond 19103, 19102, 19107, and 19106. They are
talking about Fairmount, Graduate Hospital, Bella Vista, among others
That is what has been happening since my undergrad days.
Center City is no longer a place to either work or party, it has become a
way of life; a true urban lifestyle. Whether you go to school, go to
work, or raise a family, there are almost too many things to do on a daily basis
. Bike lanes have started to slow down cars, new parks (as well as skate parks
, pop-up gardens
, and parklets
) host weekly events, and the Ben Franklin Parkway is now pedestrian friendly.
Who would have thought this was all possible in 15 years, and today it's
moving faster than it ever has. Which means there is a lot more to
come, especially on the back of a new real estate boom.
Manayunk is still an awesome place to be (as I live in the area, and
know it well), but even that has changed. When I frequented Main Street
in 2000, almost every bar catered to a college crowd. Now we have Han Dynasty
and the highly-anticipated spots Rubb
and Taqueria Feliz
. On top of all that, a new state-of-the-art charter school
is being built just off of Ridge Ave in Roxborough.
Things are changing for the better.
Why am I even talking about all of this, and what does it mean? It means
that living within Philadelphia's city limits has gone beyond its
gimmicky reasons for visiting and/or hanging out just 15 years ago.
It means that being a Philadelphian today (whether you are a student,
young professional, family, or empty nester), makes you a part of