In their annual stocktaking, University City District officials last week made a compelling case for crowing about the West Philadelphia community that's home to universities, hospitals, and research and scientific enterprises.
With multimillion-dollar projects like a new Hilton, hospital research towers, student housing, and the University of Pennsylvania's eastward expansion over 14 acres of former U.S. Postal Service parking along the Schuylkill, the neighborhood anchored by Penn, Drexel University, and 30th Street Station may be Philadelphia's busiest development hub.
It's particularly exciting to see development like the Penn campus extension that helps to cement the link, both visually and physically, with Center City. The coming addition of a large pedestrian plaza flanking the old 30th Street post office building will bring what could be regarded as the two sides of the city's downtown even closer together.
Surrounding this development, of course, are neighborhoods facing typical urban problems that the entire city must battle, including joblessness, crime, and blight. That makes it all the more notable that University City District officials are able to point to such impressive progress and growth.