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Restructuring the Philadelphia Region
Metropolitan Divisions and Inequality
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Carolyn Adams, David W. Bartelt, David Elesh and Ira Goldstein with Joshua Freely Michelle Schmitt
Restructuring the Philadelphia Region offers one of the most comprehensive and careful investigations written to date about metropolitan inequalities in America’s large urban regions. Moving beyond simplistic analyses of cities-versus-suburbs, the authors use a large and unique data set to discover the special patterns of opportunity in greater Philadelphia, a sprawling, complex metropolitan region consisting of more than 350 separate localities. With each community operating its own public services and competing to attract residents and businesses, the places people live offer them dramatically different opportunities.
The book vividly portrays the region’s uneven development—paying particular attention to differences in housing, employment and educational opportunities in different communities—and describes the actors who are working to promote greater regional cooperation. Surprisingly, local government officials are not prominent among those actors. Instead, a rich network of “third-sector” actors, represented by nonprofit organizations, quasi-governmental authorities and voluntary associations, is shaping a new form of regionalism.
"Policy analysts have often highlighted inequities resulting from uneven regional development and blocked opportunity. But as the global economy transforms a moral imperative into a competitiveness imperative, Restructuring the Philadelphia Region is an indispensable guide for political, business, and civic leaders seeking to create a more dynamic and inclusive region"
"Restructuring the Philadelphia Region reminds us that place still matters. As Adams, Bartelt, Elesh, and Goldstein document, where people live both facilitates and constrains access to opportunity in America. But new actors are emerging to confront these challenges. Third-sector entities (e.g., community development financial institutions, charter schools, foundations), along with state governments, are assuming roles traditionally reserved for city governments, perhaps for better, perhaps for worse."
"Carolyn Adams and her coauthors have given us a nice case study.... The authors’ depiction of Philadelphia is at the same time intellectually engaging and well written. Their knowledge of the city and its complexity is obvious and helps to produce an analytic description that is rich and nuanced in detail if not in theoretical terms.... The authors have made a singular and important contribution by presenting such a rich case study. Urban scholars should read it and benefit from it. This is a data source that can be the basis for a more complex theoretically based typology of evolving urban forms."
"The Philadelphia region provides an excellent case study on how regional analysis can be designed and achieved…. The authors make a compelling case that regional cooperation is vital for cities to prosper…. The authors provide thorough explanations and examples of the strengths and weaknesses that have emerged as a result of fragmentation by city, county, and region. They present their data and arguments with compelling analysis."
"Restructuring the Philadelphia Region takes a fresh look at a social landscape that is no longer easily broken down into city vs. suburbs, or even older suburbs vs. newer suburbs…. The authors use a variety of theoretical frames and data sources to provide a comprehensive new look at a predominantly older urban region.... Restructuring the Philadelphia Region is unquestionably a valuable contribution to the understanding of contemporary trends and policy in Philadelphia."
"This book is not focused on what should be happening across the region but alternatively provides a well-grounded and thorough examination of existing geographic inequalities and coping strategies…. The authors do a fine job of discussing the characteristics of the Philadelphia region, as well as how those characteristics compare with respect to other regions…. There is a wide, captive audience for Restructuring the Philadelphia Region—those interested in the policies, economic, or civic issues facing urban and metropolitan areas today whether they are in the academe, public service or the private sector…. The authors succeed in a careful and thorough discussion of the metropolitan Philadelphia region that is readable and pertinent, while contributing constructively to a variety of current discourses."
Carolyn Adams is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University.
David W. Bartelt is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University
David Elesh is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Social Science Data Library at Temple University
Ira Goldstein is Director of Policy and Information Services for The Reinvestment Fund.
In the series
Philadelphia Voices, Philadelphia Visions, edited by David W. Bartelt.
Philadelphia has always been a city that has embraced a richness of voice and vision, defying attempts to define it in a one-dimensional frame. Books in this series, Philadelphia Voices, Philadelphia Visions, edited by David W. Bartelt, will give voice to the diverse communities and perspectives that help define the city, and to address public issues that the city's community, civic and academic leadership raise in the public arena. The series is interdisciplinary, encompassing discussions of social divisions, cultural heterogeneity, and the importance of popular culture as expressions of communities that critique, celebrate, and continually reconstitute the Philadelphia region.