Sunday, May 20, 2007

Creating an Office of Neighborhoods for Philadelphia

While everybody says that Philadelphia is a “City of Neighborhoods”, it is surprising how little attention and support they are given from the Mayor’s office and the City of Philadelphia’s government generally. Philadelphia neighborhoods aren’t quaint abstractions, but real places that have “organic jurisdictional form”; that is, they don’t have the legal standing of a separate municipality, but they have issues and concerns that distinguish them from other neighborhoods. Despite the reality of neighborhood differentiation, the structure of City government does very little to recognize this form or to support neighborhood-based and focused community organizations.

While economies of scale are important to achieve, the ineffectiveness of service agglomeration for a city government trying to serve a socio-economically diverse constituency City presents its own set of problems; one size does not fit all.

1 comment:

ACM said...

what would you want an Office of Neighborhoods to do? coordinate civic associations? help ensure equal provision of city services? (perhaps better done through a 311-like service) just curious.

I could see making more of the neighborhoods from a civic pride and/or tourist draw angle -- say, put "welcome to Fishtown" (etc.) signs at appropriate intersections, encourage local "nights out" in such regions, and so forth -- but the boundaries seem so slippery and prone to change that I can't see doing much logistical organizing around them for governmental functions...

just my two cents.

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