Why we should focus on revitalizing cities’ stable, affordable “middle neighborhoods”

Congressman Dwight Evans represents the 2nd District of Pennsylvania. Ken Weinstein is President of Philly Office Retail. He founded Jumpstart Germantown two years ago.

Here’s an excerpt from an op-ed the two wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Cities compete for people. Philadelphia is no different.

According to researchers at The Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia, approximately 48 percent of city residents, across the country, live in “middle neighborhoods,” which are described as stable, working-class communities that generally lack outside investment.

Deshler-Morris House (1773) in Germantown.
Photo credit: Joe Minardi / Swinefeld

Middle neighborhoods are often saddled with blight, but have extraordinary potential for growth, when given the proper tools. They typically are affordable, safe, and functional.

In Philadelphia’s middle neighborhoods, schools are good, but not good enough, crime is relatively low, and housing is stable, but danger of decline lingers.

One example of a program that encourages private investment in middle neighborhoods is JumpStart Germantown.

Jumpstart trains, mentors, networks, and lends money to local residents who want to improve their own community.

By stressing scattered site rehabilitation and a healthy mix of affordable and market rate housing, Jumpstart can play a crucial role in middle neighborhood revitalization

Philadelphia and its vibrant neighborhoods possess the infrastructure necessary to remain viable and compete in the 21st century. Investing in targeted strategies, however, such as Jumpstart, will help our middle neighborhoods improve, producing a positive impact on the quality of life of Philadelphians, and millions of Americans living in urban and suburban areas nationwide.

Featured photo by Jack Boucher / Wikipedia is Cliveden, one of many historic houses in Germantown.

See full article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

See Jumpstart Germantown website.

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