press briefing

University City District addresses The State of University City 2013/2014

October 2, 2013

UCD_bike_patrolUniversity City is a global city—at least, that was the theme of this year’s The State of University City address hosted by the University City District and the University of Pennsylvania.

The 2013/2014 program, held Monday afternoon at the International House Philadelphia on 37th and Chestnut Streets, focused on University City’s global reach. University of Pennsylvania Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli and Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Vice Provost of UPenn’s Global Initiatives, both discussed how their institution, as well as Drexel University and University of the Sciences, fosters an international neighborhood connection through its diverse student body and international academic, cultural and social partnerships.

In regards to the larger University City community, University City District Executive Director Matt Bergheiser pointed to recent real estate and commercial developments, cultural and community events, and the neighborhood’s shifting demographics as factors in creating “a global University City.” Each speaker, however, stressed that, while University City does impact the global community at large, people living and working in the neighborhood must continue to promote and support initiatives that are global in practice.

While the panel itself presented numbers relative to this year’s theme, attendees were also given a packet detailing more statistics about University City. In numbers:

  • 23 percent of University City households speak a language other than English at home.
  • 17 percent of University City’s residents is foreign-born, five percent more than Philadelphia’s overall population.
  • According to Dr. Emanuel, the University of Pennsylvania has over 7,000 foreign-born students a year. Combined with Drexel University, that’s about 9,000 foreign-born students. (Dr. Emanuel noted that UPenn doesn’t do its best at integrating University City’s foreign-born residents, which he expects to change with the construction of the university’s Perry World House.)
  • Nearly $3.5 billion of new or recently completed real estate projects.
  • University City has over 72,000 jobs, with a 93 percent office occupancy rate and 89% retail occupancy rate.
  • About 16 academic, commercial, medical/biomedical, or residential/mixed-use properties being constructed within the next three years.
  • Average property values have tripled since 2000, from over $100,000 to over $300,000 in 2012.
  • Cost of living in University City is 28 percent lower than Center City.
  • The number of 20- to 34-year-olds living in University City has increased by 21 percent between 2000 and 2010, with 20- to 24-year-olds making up the highest number of residents.
  • Racially, the population breaks down as follows: 25 percent Black or African-American, 20 percent Asian, and 50 percent White.
  • In 2012, rate of serious crimes in University City was down 50 percent since 1998, compared to just under 25 percent for the city overall.
  • Between 1998 and 2012, University City experienced a -44 percent change in rate of violent crime per 1,000 residents, compared to a -16 percent change in the City of Philadelphia.  Continue Reading

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West Philly in the news …

October 4, 2011

• The Philadelphia Tribune and WHYY’s Newsworks site both have stories about the innovative high school program located in the Navy Yard called The Sustainability Workshop, which has deep West Philly connections. The school, which teaches students to solve real-world problems, is run by West Philly resident Michael Clapper, a former teacher at West Philadelphia High School and until recently an education professor at Saint Joseph’s University, and Simon Hauger, who gained national attention as the director of West Philly High’s Hybrid X Team. The program gives about 30 seniors from West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia and Furness high schools the chance to spend a year focusing on energy efficiency, climate change and other issues.

• Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer includes a story about the efforts of the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) to keep school libraries open. The organization has helped reopen 10 libraries at schools in West Philly that were or would have been shuttered due to budget cuts. WePAC supplies volunteer storytellers and librarians and has donated a heap of books. We have also reported on WePAC’s good work.

chewy's• The City Paper‘s online restaurant blog Meal Ticket alerts us to the opening of Chewy’s food truck, which slings sandwiches, burgers, hand-cut fries and “tater tots tossed with buffalo sauce, Whiz, bacon crumbles and ranch dressing.” Meal Ticket reports that they also have an “Apples to Apples” BLT that includes Granny Smiths and cider mayo. The truck is a joint venture between Charlie Sokowski and Terence Jones, an old street food hand. The truck operates between 34th and 35th streets on Market from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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