NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

By signing up to our newsletter, you agree to our terms.

Connor Barwin's Civic Season 2016

This week, the all-pro Eagle and citizen activist measures how our civic health stacks up against Chicago

In many ways, the stories of Philadelphia and Chicago are very similar. Both are big urban centers made up of quirky neighborhoods, with great restaurants and mass transit systems. Both have longstanding traditions of being run by political machines.

And both face serious challenges in terms of race, crime and education. Yet the problems we have in Philadelphia seem much calmer than in Chicago. In terms of relations between police and the community, though we have challenges, we also haven’t had the steady stream of headlines chronicling systemic abuse as in so many other cities, including the Windy one. And Chicago’s schools debate has also been incendiary. On many critical urban issues, the temperature of the debate in Chicago seems to be significantly higher—which may help explain its higher voter turnout.

“Chicago is a much more divided city than Philadelphia,” says Professor Richardson Dilworth of Drexel’s Center for Public Policy. Dilworth cites a study by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation in the spring that found Chicago to be “deeply riven by race, class and neighborhood, distrustful of the police and fearful of the growing rate of crime.”

What explains the difference? According to Dilworth, it might have something to do with a particularly subtle distinction. “Chicago is more geographically segregated by race than is Philadelphia,” Dilworth says. “And, yet, it’s very diverse.”

In fact, Nate Silver has documented on fivethirtyeight.com that Chicago is the preeminent face of a trend that finds our most segregated cities to also be among our most diverse. (In our chart, we use the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI), a calculation typically used to measure business concentration but can also be applied to racial diversity; the closer a city’s score is to one, the more homogeneous and less diverse its population.) “Extreme geographic segregation in Chicago is an old story—it is part of why Chicago played a more prominent role in defining the ‘urban underclass’ than did New York City  or Los Angeles through the work of William Julius Wilson and more recently by Robert Sampson,” says Dilworth. “It can also partly be explained by the political coalition of blacks and white working class ethnics legendary Mayor Richard Daley first put together and empowered. Unlike in Philadelphia, those politics resulted in massive housing projects like the Robert Taylor and Cabrini Green homes, which helped create a type of permanent underclass. There was nothing of that scale in Philadelphia.”

Chicago’s Idea We Should Steal: Planning Integration

One of the reasons I’m so passionate about cities is that, growing up, my dad was the city manager in Ferndale, Michigan, just outside Detroit. Today, Tom Barwin is the city manager in Sarasota, Florida. He’s a leading thinker on American cities; you can follow him on Twitter @tombarwin. While the Philadelphia neighborhood of Mt. Airy is known for making diversity a high community priority, Oak Park, Illinois—just outside Chicago—built a deliberately integrated community through a series of official initiatives that have maintained a mix of residents. I asked my Dad to walk us through how they did it:

“One of Chicagoland’s most unique and successful public policy initiatives was not in Chicago, but in the adjacent community of Oak Park on Chicago’s west border.

In the late 1960s, it was thought that Oak Park, served by the city’s transit system, would experience the same patterns of block busting, white flight, disinvestment, resegregation and school decline that Chicago’s south and west side neighborhoods experienced.

But in a series of stunning and bold public policy initiatives, Oak Park (home to Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright) successfully built an integrated community. First, the town passed one of the first fair housing ordinances in Illinois. Simultaneously, efforts to educate realtors on fair housing were undertaken and a housing center was opened to market the city nationally to those who desired to live in a racially diverse community. They purposefully marketed rentals in predominantly white areas to potential African American tenants, and areas vulnerable to resegregation to potential caucasian residents.

Oak Park passed one of the first fair housing ordinances in Illinois. Simultaneously, efforts to educate realtors were undertaken and a housing center was opened to market the city nationally to those who desired to live in a racially diverse community.

These policies were rooted in a home owners equity assurance program that guaranteed residents who stayed in Oak Park that the city would cover any equity lost due to the city’s planned integration. Diversity assurance programs encouraged landlords to maintain diverse multiple family rental buildings, so no single building became all white or all black. A 501c3 housing agency was created to acquire and repair blighted multifamily properties while reserving a considerable portion of the units for low and moderate income residents, assuring racial and economic diversity.   

Block parties were encouraged, “For Sale” signs were banned, resident welcoming committees were formed to welcome new residents into town, and Oak Park was one of the early communities to begin practicing true community policing.

Today Oak Park remains one of America’s most successfully integrated and diverse communities, with low crime, very good schools and solid property values.  While little known, most of Oak Park’s ground breaking integration programs remain in place today while significant areas of Chicago continue to struggle with crime, poverty and segregation.

Despite our country’s progress, perhaps the lessons learned in Oak Park should be revisited when considering urban America’s racially segregated pockets of poverty today.”

Next week we take on Pittsburgh.

Connor Barwin is the Eagles defensive end and runs the Make The World Better Foundation, which works to refurbish city parks. 

Results

Philadelphia

Eagles

vs

Chicago

Bears

# of B Corporations

27

7 POINTS

Eagles

# of B Corporations

18

% Graduated high school in last school year

65

7 POINTS

Bears

% Graduated high school in last school year

69.7

Diversity Index

0.34

7 POINTS

Bears

Diversity Index

0.33

% Bike to work

1.9

7 POINTS

Eagles

% Bike to work

1.7

% Acres of park space

13

7 POINTS

Eagles

% Acres of park space

9.1

Violent crime per 1,000 residents

10.2

7 POINTS

Bears

Violent crime per 1,000 residents

8.8

% Voted in last mayoral election

25.5

7 POINTS

Bears

% Voted in last mayoral election

40

% Below poverty

26

7 POINTS

Bears

% Below poverty

22

Public transportation score

67

7 POINTS

Eagles

Public transportation score

65

Final Score

28

Chicago

Bears

Final Score

35

Sep. 11
63-0

Eagles

Browns

Sep. 19
28-35

Bears

Bears

Sep. 25
35-28

Eagles

Steelers

Oct. 09
63-0

Eagles

Lions

Oct. 16
28-35

Redskins

Redskins

Oct. 23
28-35

Vikings

Vikings

Oct. 30
35-28

Eagles

Cowboys

Nov. 06
14-49

Giants

Giants

Nov. 13
56-7

Eagles

Falcons

Nov. 20
35-28

Eagles

Seahawks

Nov. 28
35-28

Eagles

Packers

Dec. 04
35-28

Eagles

Bengals

Dec. 11
28-35

Redskins

Redskins

Dec. 18
49-14

Eagles

Ravens

Dec. 22
14-49

Giants

Giants

Jan. 01
35-28

Eagles

Cowboys

Civic Record:

EAGLES

Wins

9

Losses

4

Upcoming Games:

 

For more information on this data, see the Civic Season Explained page.

Note: The Eagles play Washington, D.C., New York and Dallas twice this season, but we only count each city once in the Civic Record.

Recent Tweets
@THEPHILACITIZEN

thephilacitizen @thephilacitizen
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“Before that day, you had a problem and you came to me? I’d write a check,” Rubin says. “Now, no joke, lately I’ve… https://t.co/O5IrJvklQX 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
You can support Puerto Ricans in Philly, read on to find out how: https://t.co/RA255l8V0F 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Stand up (on a paddleboard) for a cleaner Spruce Harbor. Join Aqua Vida, United by Blue, and Clean Ocean Action for… https://t.co/jW2FP6fLnu 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Main Line entrepreneur and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin’s eyes were opened to the criminal injustice system through… https://t.co/XJg9XlMAda 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“I was moved by the fact [Irma] walked so much to find a home her feet were swollen,” he says. “I thought: I can ma… https://t.co/L7ZY27c86E 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
What do you think about the state legislature's failure to act on sexual harassment bills? Share your thoughts:… https://t.co/zKha8SaEGf 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
“You give what you get in return. And I swear, every time you do something, you get it back,” Boyd says. https://t.co/RA255l8V0F 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
You can have a say in Philly's zoning policy. Join Philly YIMBY for their kick off meeting to discuss current zonin… https://t.co/moOOZU3Upt 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Sexual harassment won't just go away, read on to see what PA needs: https://t.co/fadCvJb4YO #philadelphia #pa 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The Plymouth Meeting retiree read about the plight of a Puerto Rican hurricane evacuee family. Then he stepped up t… https://t.co/EuERgnN9mu 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Did you make it to @woodenshoebooks to hear Onnesha Roychoudhuri discuss her new book? Tell us about it! More in ou… https://t.co/rc5VxNzPdi 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
Is easy to go green in your home, especially when our Mystery Shopper did all the work! Learn more, go green:… https://t.co/zheCvy0c5c 
The Citizen
@thephilacitizen
The good news: Philadelphia—along with Pittsburgh—has the strongest anti-harassment protections in the state, thank… https://t.co/PdmkQO4nHL 

LOAD MORE

Be a Citizen Editor

Suggest a Story