The Top 5 Things Smart Philly Residents Care About [UPDATED]

UPDATE: The below has been clarified to reflect the fact that PlanPhilly was concerned only with issues around the built and natural environments, as they wrote in their post. Another clarification: My original title for this post was “Top 5 Things Planning Nerds Care About,” but I chose to make it more positive. Readers of PlanPhilly, in my experience, are all very bright. Who else would read devotedly about planning and zoning?

In order to create a more perfect Philadelphia as we move toward an election year, PennPraxis and PlanPhilly presented PlanPhilly’s readers with a list of what they described as the “most important issues facing Philadelphia’s built and natural environments” and asked their readers to answer one important question: “Which three of these issues do you feel are the most important for Philadelphia’s future?”

“We’ll use this information to help shape research and civic engagement by PennPraxis staff and reporting by PlanPhilly journalists,” writes Evan Croen, PlanPhilly’s website administrator and A Person Who Moved Here From Brooklyn.

The survey results showed that the top 5 issues are:

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The Big List of the Worst Philly Lists of 2014

rocky

They’re called demolisticles. Or, at least that’s the name FiveThirtyEight editor Chadwick Matlin came up with for them. The idea is that you appeal to a limited target audience, but a large percentage will click on it and share it. “19 Signs You Went to Penn,” for example.

It’s no surprise Buzzfeed is best at these. Buzzfeed gets a lot of flack for lists, and I sometimes think it’s misguided: There’s nothing inherently wrong with a list. They can be fun to read. Readers clearly like them. Not everyone wants to read a 3,000-word essay all the time (or ever). I’m not even at 200 words yet and some of you have already checked out. Lists can be just as informative or witty (or stupid) as articles.

The problem is when Buzzfeed’s lists are stupid as heck. This list about Penn explains that “you know not to sit and take pictures next to the Ben Franklin statue” but doesn’t explain that’s because drunk people pee on it. I guess the audience is just people who went to Penn and want to look at photos and GIFs and don’t care if they learn no new information about their alma mater. But to me, though, the Penn article is boring — and not just because it says I should’ve been mugged on the block where I lived.

But that doesn’t stop people from sharing them. No matter how lame, no matter the author, no matter how cliched a list about Philadelphia is, it will pop up in your Facebook feed. Repeatedly. Or someone will email it to me. “Hey, Dan,” they write, “I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I know you love Philly, so here’s a list about cheesesteaks and Rocky.” I’m getting angry just thinking about it! Then I feel like an asshole for getting irrationally angry at a friend of mine who was reaching out to say hi.

Clearly, much of this problem is my own. (Count to 10. Take a deep breath.) I have no power or wish to stop you from sharing stupid stuff on Facebook. But since I’ve seen so many bad Philadelphia lists this year, I decided I’d make a list of my own. Read on for a list of the Worst Philly Lists of 2014. By the end, you’ll even have read another one.

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Hey Philly, You’ll Never Guess Who Made the “Unhappiest Cities” List

500px-Seal_of_Pennsylvania.svg

This is the symbol of deep discontent.

God as our witness, we have no idea whether this is good news or bad news. So let’s try it:

Philly, you’re on a new list of America’s unhappiest cities. 

But you only rank No. 10.

Apparently Buffalo is sadder. Saint Louis more filled with ennui. Louisville has no reason to live apart from the once-a-year Kentucky Derby. We’re not surprised to see Detroit on the list. But Pittsburgh is No. 2. Pittsburgh?

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The 10 People You’ll Meet at Spruce Street Harbor Park



In Philadelphia, there’s always something to argue about. Whether it’s the Phillie Phanaticthe clientele at Center City Sips or the worthiness of Wawa, we are a people who love to gripe. All the time. No matter what.

Or at least that’s how it was until Spruce Street Harbor Park opened this summer to universal praise — and justifiably so. The revitalization of the waterfront is a no-brainer when it comes to things that should happen in this city. By adding hammocks and  floating gardens and brightly colored chairs and, perhaps most importantly, food and booze, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has given us good reason to go somewhere besides Penn’s Landing when we want to gaze across the river at New Jersey.

But the thing about being universally loved is that Spruce Street Harbor Park brings out all types of people — people who do not usually interact on a day-to-day basis. Here, a roundup who you’ll see when you venture down to the waterfront.

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You Can’t Be Too Rich or Too Thin

Shutterstock.com

Fat, poor, and uneducated. On the bright side…

What is the hardest place in the Philadelphia area to live?

Thanks to data reporting by the New York Times Magazine, we have an answer. The Times used six data points to rate the livability in every county in the country: education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment, disability, life expectancy and obesity.

Clay County, Kentucky was determined to be the hardest place in America to live. Los Alamos County in New Mexico, a hub of scientific research, is the easiest place to live.

But let’s get back to Philadelphia. Is anyone shocked that the City of Philadelphia is the hardest place in the area to live using these metrics? But it was Chester County, not Montgomery County, that was the easiest.

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30th Street Station Among Nation’s Busiest

30th Street Station. Photo | Jeff Fusco

30th Street Station. Photo | Jeff Fusco

“Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is the third-busiest Amtrak station in the U.S., trailing only New York City’s Penn Station and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station,” Technically Philly reports. More than 4 million Amtrak passengers passed through 30th Street Station last year — a number that doesn’t include additional use from SEPTA riders.

See Technically Philly’s report for a map of all Amtrak destinations and their relative busy-ness.

Morning Headlines: PA and NJ Are in “20 Worst States to Make a Living”

shutterstock_unemployment
The website MoneyRates.com has published research results that rank the 50 states according to a proprietary metric they call Compensation and Quality Factor pertaining to employment. It’s based on four factors:

  • Average salary, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Cost of living, based on data from C2ER.
  • Employment rate, based on BLS data.
  • Workplace conditions, based on the “Work Environment” component of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

The best state for job-searching and employment quality is Washington, which has one of the highest average incomes in the country. There’s also no state income tax and workplace conditions are tops.

The worst is Hawaii, which has a very high cost of living but wages that don’t compensate.

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