Welcome to Citified

Urban affairs news, done right.

Glenwood Green Acres, North Central Philadelphia

Glenwood Green Acres, North Central Philadelphia. Photo by Tony Fischer.

Welcome to Citified, Phillymag’s new channel about how Philadelphia works–and how it doesn’t.

So what is Citified, exactly? In time, we hope, Citified will be your go-to source for smart, authoritative, daily coverage of the people, ideas and institutions that run Philadelphia (or ought to). We’re talking bread and butter urban affairs. The mayoral race. City Hall. The school district. Cops. Courts. Urbanism. And much more.

What will set Citified apart is our approach. We’re going to put a premium on analysis, drawing on the experience of veteran city reporters and real life urban practitioners to put the headlines in perspective. We’re going to give our writers the room to flat out say–without the usual hemming and hawing–what’s real and what’s bullshit. We’re going to make it easier to understand how Philadelphia operates and who pulls the levers. And we’re going to talk a lot about what can be done to make Philadelphia better.

But don’t expect a series of abstract policy briefs. Philadelphia isn’t a laboratory. It’s a glorious, screwed-up, real-life city, and that context matters–a lot. Personalities are important in this town. So too is the gunky political machinery that still decides a lot of hugely important questions. Citified will be firmly grounded in these realities.

You can look to Citified over these next five months for sharp and aggressive coverage of the Democratic mayoral primary and City Council elections. You can look to us for big picture takes and insights into the high stakes debate over the direction of city schools. We’re going to zoom in on big economic questions, like tax policy and the prospect of an energy hub. And we’ll be keeping an eye open for signs of political life in the fast-growing cohort of new Philadelphians.

Who’s writing for Citified? Myself and a host of talented Philadelphia magazine staffers, particularly the newly hired Holly Otterbein. We’ll also be publishing columns from a still-developing roster of urban practitioners: teachers, cops, non-profit leaders, eggheads, urban economists, ward leaders, retired pols and their staffers, to name a few. We call them our Insiders, because that’s exactly what they are.

Finally, we’re hoping that you chip in. We want Citified to become an indispensable outlet for Philadelphia’s most engaged citizens, and that’s an audience we want to hear from. To that end, Citified will be moderating comments on all posts. Aggressively. We’ll be deleting not just the racist and the needlessly profane, but the stupid, unhelpful, trolling idiocy that plagues too many comments sections. Wish us luck on that.

That’s more than enough mission-talk. Before long, our work will be speaking for itself. You can see our work at www.phillymag.com/citified, and follow us on Twitter @CitifiedPHL.