From Temple to Trump: Philly’s middle neighborhoods go to Washington

May 23, 2017
In The News

In early February, Temple University hosted a small gathering where urban development experts Ira Goldstein and Paul Brophy told politicians about Philadelphia’s middle neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are where about 45 percent of our population lives, mostly-stable areas at risk because they’re not getting privately developed like Center City and not so blighted that they receive government funding.

Months later, middle neighborhoods have gone national, slowly becoming a conversation topic in Washington, D.C. The issue of middle neighborhoods has reached the Office of Housing and Urban Development; Philly Congressman Dwight Evans hosted a Congressional briefing on them last week. The concept has even crossed the desk of President Donald Trump.

“I want to heighten it,” Evans told Billy Penn, “from a national perspective.”

Last week, Evans was joined by two other Congress members, Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, and Dan Kildee, D-Michigan; as well as Brophy, Baltimore community development leader Mark Sissman and Catherine Califano, deputy director of planning and development for the City of Philadelphia. They spoke to a few dozen Congressional staffers and community development lobbyists.

It was the second big moment for middle neighborhoods in Washington. The first came in late March in the Congressional Black Caucus’ report “We Have a Lot To Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century.”

On page 34, among solutions for addressing economic disparity and lifting Americans out of poverty, was “build and strengthen middle neighborhoods across the country.” The report was presented to Trump.