City Living: The Dream Parents Dread…
I grew up in a small city, at the end of the Main Line, in what I’d like to believe is still considered part of the distant shadow of Philadelphia.
My parents would frequent the city for groceries at the Italian Market, the ballet at Christmas, shopping at Strawbridge’s, art at the museums, science at the Franklin, etc. I owe a lot to my parents for including me in all these adventures that have stuck with me even as I grew up and could venture into the city myself.
So imagine my surprise when I decided to attend college in the city and my parents opposed the idea of me living in the city.
Long story short with my life pre-grad I decided on Temple University in “North” Philadelphia and disregarded the sighs and worry my parents made sure not to hide.
After spending my first semester there, I understood why they — and so many Pennsylvanians — envision the city as a dangerous and “unlivable” place. Anywhere that is affordable is questionable, and the nice parts of town are few and far between. They [my parents] especially saw the decay of Philadelphia in the 1990s due to urban sprawl which many attribute to rising crime rates from increased drug use in the 1980s. Our local news stations of course did not help the situation — violent crimes in notoriously bad parts of town were/are always on the news, while crimes (even petty) that occur in the good parts of town were/are ignored. Neighborhoods in Philadelphia mean everything; they’re a point of pride and shape our city’s diverse landscape yet the news is constantly misassociating names with sections (Temple, although on North Broad, is barely North Philadelphia — looking at a map or talking to a local resident, they would tell you its considered its own section due to rising student population or its so close to Center City that it’s considered “North Central City”). If that’s not the case, news stations are continuously creating notorious parts of the city, which further contributes to their decay. How can Strawberry Mansion get better if people are afraid to be there?
Most journalists/producers/editors in any city are from outside our little world. Few grow up here and understand the beats, the hoods, the lifestyles. But, don’t you think they should?
Media is supposed to be the fourth estate, the voice of the people. We’re normal people that know what’s up and bring it [what’s up] to the attention of politicians/policy makers/businesses/EVERYONE.
But in a way, news is doing the opposite.
Philadelphia is not alone in its struggle to beautify and entice more people to live here rather than its suburbs. Baltimore, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, have all experienced tremendous sprawl.
Why am I saying all this?