Where Philly stands

July 13, 2010

Temple’s Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project (MPIP) has released its 2010 annual report:  Where We Stand.  The report assesses various dimensions of community life, selecting a few critical indicators to tell us where Philadelphia stands both as a region and within individual local communities.

Funded by the William Penn Foundation, MPIP promotes regional thinking about metropolitan Philadelphia’s most important challenges by illuminating conditions and trends in the nine-county region (defined as the central cities of Philadelphia and Camden along with the Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery, and the New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem).

Because one of the goals of MPIP is to inform policy conversations about improving quality of life in the region, this year’s report begins with a section that maps changes in three recession-related indicators–Job Loss, Food Stamps and Foreclosures–using legislative boundaries to portray patterns across the region.

Additionally, most sections of the report also show how greater Philadelphia ranks in comparison with eight other metropolitan areas.

For more information, please visit MPIP’s website (www.temple.edu/mpip) to make free use of MetroPhilaMapper, a web resource that allows users to easily find data about all communities in the region, to view the information displayed in charts, tables and maps, and to compare data that used to be scattered across multiple sources.

–Kim Fischer

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City in the Suburbs

January 20, 2010

Poverty–often associated with urban areas–increased nearly 1 percent in Philadelphia’s suburbs between 2000 and 2008, partly because of two recessions, according to a report released today and announced in a story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

Poverty in the suburbs reached a rate of 7.4 percent, compared with 24.1 percent within Philadelphia, according to the report by the Brookings Institution. Citywide poverty increased 1.2 percent between 2000 and 2008, the report showed.

Not long ago, a team of Temple researches noticed this trend as they examined patterns of growth in metropolitan Philadelphia.

They saw city-like conditions in some suburbs, and found the suburbs in the city.

In their book, Restructuring the Philadelphia Region: Metropolitan Divisions and Inequality (Temple University Press, 2008) Carolyn Adams, David Bartelt, David Elesh, and Ira Goldstein call attention not only to the region’s heterogeneity, but also to the need for a unified approach to addressing inequalities and improving competitiveness in the global economy.  (Adams and Bartelt are professors of geography and urban studies; Elesh is associate professor of sociology, and Goldstein is Director of Policy and Information Services for The Reinvestment Fund.)

“Relying on the old categories of city versus suburb no longer makes sense.  This traditional distinction does not capture the dynamics of regional development,” said Bartelt.

To read more and view a slide show:  Philly, suburbs share stake in region’s future

–Kim Fischer