State of Center City In the News

Coverage of this year's State of Center City report, including interviews with Center City District president and CEO Paul Levy-

April 20, 2018 | Sure, Philly is growing. But not fast enough | Opinion [PDF 156 KB] , The Philadelphia Inquirer

Disparities between thriving and declining sections of Philadelphia are enormous. The temptation to slip into resentment and antigrowth rhetoric is strong. But given national trends, we have no choice but to create at home a competitive environment for growth and opportunity.

April 24, 2018 | CCD’s Paul Levy: “Obsolete” Tax Structure Is Holding Philly Back, Philadelphia magazine

"Could you share a brief history of the State of Center City report?
When we did our first report 20 years ago, it was an organizational report, focused on CCD activities. It has steadily evolved into a comprehensive report on the downtown marketplace, with comparisons across diverse sectors to many other cities. Now, it’s not only 'How are we doing?' but also 'How are we doing in comparison to our peer cities, and what do we need to do to perform even better?'

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the country. Since 1970, the rate of poverty has increased in every neighborhood — except Center City. Can you explain what makes the downtown area immune to this phenomenon?
The renewal of Center City and University City that began in the 1960s and 1970s helped us create a new economy built on post-industrial jobs. By the 1990s, more and more people wanted to live close to where they work. So job growth and population growth go hand in hand. The rising poverty rate in many other, older neighborhoods is due in part to so many working- and middle-class families following their jobs to the suburbs. To create opportunity for all, we need citywide job growth.

April 24, 2018 | CCD Report: Policy changes needed to boost job growth, help neighborhoods, Philadelphia Business Journal

"Do you have other worries?
We raise a cautionary flag that there are individually a lot of actions being taken without consideration of their cumulative effect. I think we have to be extraordinarily careful in addressing the problems we have and not adopting cures that cause more problems.

 What are some headwinds facing Center City?  
We are benefiting from a prolonged economic expansion and we have someone in Washington trying to destabilize that growth. If there were to be a national downturn, we are not an island and we expect growth would decline in Philadelphia. The millennial boom we have experienced, in four to five years, it will cease to stop being as strong as it is and we will have a significant drop in that population. As more 18-year-olds from India, China and other places come to attend schools here, the idea of retaining them becomes less. We do a better job at retaining folks from the United State than we do international students."

April 26, 2018 | Report: Policy changes needed to boost city's job growth, The Philadelphia Tribune