Monday, January 09, 2006

Better Neighbor Buddies than Neighbor Hoodies

Universities like Penn and Yale have become better Neighbor-Buddies than Neighborhoodies by investing in their neighborhoods to make em safe. And University of Pennsylvania actually has a Westward Ho program and there is an article in today's washington post as well.
Westward Ho by U Penn They say that: By the early 1990s, University City—a once dynamic and gracious community of magnificent Victorian homes and lively diversity—had fallen on hard times. This West Philadelphia neighborhood had grown poorer and more dangerous, with one in five residents living below the poverty level. Crime had risen significantly. Shops and businesses were closing, pedestrian traffic was vanishing, middle- class families were leaving, and more houses were falling prey to abandonment and decay. Three local elementary schools ranked at the bottom in state- administered math and reading tests.
Penn charted a new course toward civic engagement and resolved to work with neighborhood leaders and residents to rebuild a spirit of fellowship and shared purpose and to create a more livable community. By linking its academic and research expertise and its financial commitment with the energy, resources, and inspired commitment of neighborhood residents and businesses, Penn embarked on the civic-reform partnership that would restore and revitalize West Philadelphia.
Because urban neighborhoods form complex ecological systems, we sought to rebuild West
Philadelphia’s social and economic capacity by simultaneously and aggressively acting on five interrelated fronts:
Creating clean and safe streets
Increasing housing and home ownership
Fortifying public education
Fostering economic opportunity
Promoting commercial development
The program has been and continues to serve as a successful agent of change. These positive results did not happen overnight. Rather, the enduring partnership between Penn and its neighbors is a tribute to long-term vision, commitment, and just plain hard work.


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