When I moved to my neighborhood I became especially interested in historical redlining and how it must have played out with the family and homes here.
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, but even more micro than that. It’s a city of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ blocks with no transition zones. It’s absolutely crazy if you think about it, and was quite a smack when I moved here 15 years ago.
Anyway. A lot of the abandoned decaying tiny two story row homes on the worst blocks are being razed and trendy modern buildings are going up in their place, and the people who live here are so diverse (not without some tensions I hear) and as I walk the dorky hell hound I think a lot about history and the generations that lived in this place, and the population ebbs and flows. If this was a Catholic neighborhood, how did they fit families of 10 into two bedrooms? What useful businesses used to be on the commercial streets that are now nothing but take out Chinese and hair shops? Who were the first people to live in these houses? How many families passed through before they were left to rot? How quickly will the cycles repeat with the new homes being built?
So I wanted to look up to see what this neighborhood was originally designated as. And that’s when I learned that all of center city Philadelphia was redlined, and basically the whole of what I think of as the city was written off.