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Philadelphia

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A tightly cropped black-and-white view of stone Ionic columns at the entrance to a courthouse. Words are carved on the lintel over the columns; visible in this photo are "and blessing."

Six Steps to Ensuring a Strong Right to Organize for Tenants

Getting solid legal protections in place will help tenants stick up for themselves more safely and effectively.

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Community Development Field

Community Engagement Can’t Be a Checklist

Are we engaging communities meaningfully, or are we just checking off boxes?

COVID

During the Pandemic, Community Development Organizations Prioritize Relief and Assistance Work

While rent relief might not be their mission, organizations are focusing on the immediate needs of residents. But with all of their staff and monetary resources being used to plug holes, some organizations believe they’re a few months or another crisis away from financial disaster.

Housing

Activists Win Control of Vacant Philadelphia Buildings: Now What?

The city and the activists involved have referred to the organization that will receive the properties as a community land trust, but as of late October it was not yet clear how the group will be structured.

Housing

‘We Need Those Houses’­—Activists Take Over Vacant Housing Authority-Owned Homes

About 50 people—mostly single mothers and their children—have been living in vacant Philadelphia Housing Authority units since March. The move-ins are both acts of necessity and a political protest against the PHA.

Arts & Culture

Parks, People, and Inclusive Collaborative Planning

A Philadelphia park conservancy develops arts-based partnerships within the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood to strengthen the community’s cultural identity.

A once-vacant lot in Philadelphia that has been cleaned.
Health

Greening Vacant Lots: Low Cost, Big Effect in Philly

A Philadelphia program is cleaning up abandoned lots, helping formerly incarcerated residents get jobs, and improving the overall health and well-being of neighborhoods.

philadelphia love sign
Shelter Shorts

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Oct. 5

News from—and affecting—the community development world. This week: a new kind of library lending, Amazon’s wage raise, life for Philadelphia’s poor, bipartisan work on the opioid epidemic, and more.

westlake mural
Communities

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Aug. 24

Philly’s Fight for Affordable Housing | HUD Targets Facebook In Complaint| An Eviction App | A “Massive” Multifamily Housing Fraud

The first community justice land trust tenants at Grace Townhomes. Photo courtesy of DHCD
Community Control

Building Power for Community Control

Residents and institutions in a North Philadelphia neighborhood wanted to put the power of the land back into the hands of the community. The way we decided to do this was to create the Community Justice Land Trust and ensure neighborhood residents and tenants of CLT homes had seats on its board.

several mural images
Arts & Culture

Generating Civic Power in North Philadelphia

An organization embarks on a community-driven design process to transform two vacant row homes into a site for residents, artists, and law enforcement to collaborate on new public safety strategies rooted in care rather than control.

Neighborhood Change

It’s Not Actually About Ownership

Private Property and Public Power: Eminent Domain in Philadelphia,
by Debbie Becher. Oxford University Press, 2014. 334pp. $30.50 (paper)
Purchase here.

Housing

Philadelphia Achieves Land Bank Through Compromise

Philadelphia is about to become the largest city in the country with a land bank. A land bank is a nonprofit or government agency whose sole function is to efficiently […]