gentrification

building construction
Min Xian / WPSU

The development going on in State College right now is expected to increase the number of housing units in the borough by about 20 percent. And largely they’ll be downtown student rentals.

While many Pennsylvania municipalities struggle to sustain their downtowns and shrinking populations, the State College area faces a different set of challenges. The place that’s home to Penn State is seeing growth. But not everyone thinks it’s the right kind.

This story originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

No one could argue that Olney, in upper North Philadelphia, is gentrifying. But that doesn’t mean the neighborhood isn’t revitalizing. In the afternoon when schools let out, kids weighed down with colorful backpacks fill the sidewalks of tidy rowhome blocks. The neighborhood’s North 5th Street shopping district bustles with Colombian cafes, Jamaican bakeries, and Korean restaurants. Over the last 15 years, neighborhood’s population growth has greatly outstripped city averages no matter how it is measured.

Tonetta Graham on her Strawberry Mansion porch, in philadelphia, PA.
Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY

This story originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

If Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion section gentrifies, Tonetta Graham knows her block is bound to change. She owns a house on 30th Street, right around the corner from her childhood home. It cuts a striking figure. Painted candy apple red with white trim, Graham’s house stands alone, the sole remaining building on this side of the block. Vacant lots surround it, some strewn with tires and old mattresses.

James Earl Davis, a Professor of Urban Education at Temple University and his golden doodle, Baldwin, pictured in his home in East Germantown.
Brad Larrison for WHYY

Temple University education professor James Earl Davis and his partner moved into their stately 150-year-old Victorian home in East Germantown in 2001, at a time when the neighborhood was, well, iffy.

“The car was broken into around 2002 because there was money and CDs on the front seat. They broke the window and got those, but that was kind of an urban novice error,” Davis recalled with a knowing laugh.

Claudia Sherrod (left) and Haley Dervinis (right) both live in Point Breeze. Although Dervinis is a newcomer, she's also wary of the rapid change.
Emma Lee / WHYY

Debbie Bell knows what it is to be made to feel like an afterthought.

She’s a lifelong resident of Point Breeze, a historically low-income African-American neighborhood in South Philadelphia that’s seen a lot of change lately.

To hear longtime neighbors like Bell tell it, Point Breeze used to be about pride. It was mothers cooking collard greens. People pulling together to help each other make the rent when times got hard. It was friendly competitions to see who had the tidiest block.

It was about community.

A view of Society Hill taken from inside the Society Hill Towers.
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

 

State College Borough Council Approves HARB

Dec 21, 2017

After months of public meetings and workshops, State College will have a Historical and Architectural Review Board, or HARB.

State College Borough Council members voted six to one in favor of a HARB Monday night.

More than one-thousand houses in the Holmes-Foster, Highlands and College Heights historical districts will be subject to the review board.

The State College HARB will recommend to the borough council whether to approve or deny property renovations and alterations.

the Rathskeller
Anne Danahy / WPSU

One of the many pictures decorating the walls at the Rathskeller is a photograph of Timothy Leary, the psychologist who told people to “turn on, tune in and drop out.”

Leary went to the Skeller many years ago after debating G. Gordon Liddy, of Watergate fame, at Penn State. Bar owner Duke Gastiger said Leary collected Americana and wanted to buy one of the bar’s tables that was chiseled with customers’ names.

Leary didn’t get to leave with a table, but Gastiger said they’d send him one.

apartment building
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Aviva Franz, a sophomore at Penn State, is leaving her apartment in the Metropolitan on a breezy fall day. She moved into the new, upscale building in downtown State College at the end of August.

“It definitely offers more, but there are tradeoffs," Franz said. "Like, it’s definitely more expensive than some of the other places. We do have a gym in the building, even though it’s small, and we do have a study lounge.”