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Connor Barwin's Civic Season 2016

This week, the Eagles lineman and citizen activist measures how our civic health stacks up against New York City

Because we play New York so often—we face the Giants twice a year, and last year we played the Jets—we’ve spent a lot of time the last two seasons comparing Philly’s civic health to the Big Apple’s. So this week, I asked my wingman, Professor Richardson Dilworth of Drexel’s Center for Public Policy, to dive deep into one specific phenomenon in New York. As you’ll see below, he came through in the clutch once again.

But first, a note about the numbers. They show that New York beats every Northeastern and Midwestern city in population growth. Between 2010 and 2015, the city saw a net gain of 375,000 residents. “It’s as though, over five years, the entire population of Pittsburgh, and then some more people, moved to New York City,” says Dilworth.

But is that necessarily a good thing? The fact is that New York has become ridiculously expensive. The median family income is 40 percent higher than in Philly ($5,737 versus $37,460), but the median value of owner-occupied housing is more than 240 percent higher: $490,700 versus $143,200.

“Massively higher home values are not necessarily good for a city,” explains Dilworth. “The rate of home ownership in New York is much lower, so its higher home values are really just a reflection of a greater unequal division of wealth. Given the recent massive influx of people into New York City, that means that a much larger proportion of the city’s population is facing a much more expensive real estate market where a larger percentage cannot buy homes.”

Traditionally, high rates of home ownership are seen as a good thing, because it means that a larger segment of the population is invested in the community. In New York, only a smaller and much wealthier sector of the city has the opportunity to make that investment in local civic participation.

This is where Dilworth zeroed in on Brooklyn for us. While median family incomes have remained low, thanks to pockets of poverty in places like East New York and Coney Island, Brooklyn has become the most expensive place in America.

“As part of the rise in private sector growth and cost of living in Brooklyn, we’ve seen the rise of craft production—whiskey, beer, pickles, chocolate,” says Dilworth. “Anyone who has spent any time in Park Slope knows this. It was also evident when the New York Times recently saw fit to publish a major article covering, of all things, a controversy in the world of craft chocolate makers.”

Why is this significant? Because Dilworth sees it as an oncoming sign of the times. “I don’t think it’s as meaningful economically—though that could change—as it is culturally,” says Dilworth. “I compare it to the cultural significance of wine production in France, where specific regions become known for specific kinds of wine. It becomes about more than the wine; it’s really about an entire culture of food, leisure, consumption and lifestyle built around the regionality of food production. With city-based craft food and beverage production in the United States, we’re seeing the same thing. Certain cities will become known for their beers, their chocolate, their pickles, and that reputation will slowly become part of a larger culture.”

It begs the question: What craft food and beverage production will Philadelphia become nationally known for?

New York Idea To Steal: Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York City launched the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, an innovative and holistic approach to preparing for and protecting against the impacts of climate change.

“One of the things that historically made New York City so much more successful than Philadelphia was its deep cold water port right on its seaboard,” explains Dilworth. “But as a seaboard city, New York is more at risk, especially as a result of the increasingly dangerous storms that have resulted, and will result, from climate change and rising sea levels.”

As a result, New York City immediately took proactive steps after Sandy. According to Professor  Franco Montalto, who directs the Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Laboratory in Drexel’s College of Engineering, New York borrowed from the “never waste a crisis” model and did something Philadelphia has yet to do: Develop an innovative and comprehensive resilience strategy to deal with the future of climate change.

Announced in 2013 by then-Mayor Bloomberg, the $19.5 billion plan calls for everything from constructing “adaptable floodwalls,” storm-surge barriers and dune systems, to updating building codes throughout the city. According to climatecentral.org, New York’s SIRR is “the most comprehensive climate resilience program of any city worldwide.”

A little over a year ago, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released Growing Stronger: Toward a Climate-Ready Philadelphia, which does a good job of laying out our climate change challenges. (One severe hurricane, for example, is likely to cause $2 billion in citywide damages.) But it doesn’t go nearly as far as New York when it comes to prescribing bold proactive measures, focusing instead on “low-barrier adaptation opportunities” for 11 city departments.

Connor Barwin is an Eagles lineman and runs the Make The World Better foundation, which works to refurbish city parks.

Results

Philadelphia

Eagles

vs

New York City

Giants

# of B Corporations

27

7 POINTS

Giants

# of B Corporations

50

% Graduated high school in last school year

65

7 POINTS

Giants

% Graduated high school in last school year

70.5

Diversity Index

0.34

7 POINTS

Giants

Diversity Index

0.26

% Bike to work

1.9

7 POINTS

Eagles

% Bike to work

1.1

% Acres of park space

13

7 POINTS

Giants

% Acres of park space

20.8

Violent crime per 1,000 residents

10.2

7 POINTS

Giants

Violent crime per 1,000 residents

6

% Voted in last mayoral election

25.5

7 POINTS

Eagles

% Voted in last mayoral election

23.8

% Below poverty

26

7 POINTS

Giants

% Below poverty

20.9

Public transportation score

67

7 POINTS

Giants

Public transportation score

84

Final Score

14

New York City

Giants

Final Score

49

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.

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