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To selections from this event on CitizenCast

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Recap: Development … for Good — Build Baby Build

Can Philadelphia develop our way out of an affordable housing crisis? This week, The Citizen gathered experts on the matter to work out the answer to that very big question

Recap: Development … for Good — Build Baby Build

Can Philadelphia develop our way out of an affordable housing crisis? This week, The Citizen gathered experts on the matter to work out the answer to that very big question

Could building more housing solve Philadelphia’s affordable housing crisis? If the answer seems obvious, you obviously haven’t dug into the question. On Monday, March 4, 2024, The Citizen gathered four housing experts — two developers, two policy specialists — and about 250 very invested guests in the ballroom of the Fitler Club to talk affordable housing solutions.

To set the scene: Philadelphia’s 25 percent poverty rate is higher than the national average. And, at approximately $250,000, our city’s AMI (Area Median Income, which, in Philly’s case, also includes some wealthier suburbs) is considerably lower than the national average of $387,000. According to the latest statistics, 45,000 low-income Philadelphians live in Philadelphia Housing Authority housing — 61,000 more are on PHA’s waitlist for housing. Something needs to be done, and soon, to ensure our supply of affordable homes meets the demand.

The panel of experts included:

Development…for Good, is presented in partnership among The Citizen, Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and Fitler Club, to consider how private development and public placemaking can reshape our city, to the benefit of all Philadelphians. The series is sponsored by Brandywine Realty Trust, Firstrust Bank and Darco Capital.

The conversation on Monday, which included questions from the audience, explored how the housing crisis relates to others aspects of city life, including wages, education and segregation; the policy barriers that prevent more developers from building more affordable projects; the importance of Black developers; the connections between housing and education and wealth generation; the opportunities for change in the new mayoral administration — and many other topics.

See the full video of the event below.

[Editor’s note: Due to a technical error, the sound in the first 12 minutes of this video is somewhat garbled. We appreciate your patience.] 

See below for photos of the event.

Cocktail hour: 

(Left to right): Steve Arrivello, Rich Young, Jordan P. Ferrarini and Lindsay Patterson.
(Left to right): Thaddeus Squire, Christa Cobb, David Tucker.
Lee Whack (left) of Resolve Philly, and Matthew Kenyatta.
(Left to right): Phoenicia Wallace, Joshua Harris, Tayyib Smith and Sandra Dungee Glenn.
Larry Platt (left) and Andy Toy of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations.
Kathleen Jordan (left) and a guest speak before the event.

Development … for Good:

View from the crowd. Onstage: Larry Platt (left) and Roxanne Patel Shepelavy.
Diana Lind (right) and Leslie Smallwood-Lewis (foreground).
The crowd.
Richard Kahlenberg
Leslie Smallwood Lewis.
Mo Rushdy.
The panelists.
An audience member poses a question.


Photo by Albert Yee for The Philadelphia Citizen.

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