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  • Writer's pictureNet Impact Philadelphia

July 2020 Discussion Group Recap

A Dream Deferred PHL

This discussion group brought things close to home as the documentary, A Dream Deferred PHL, by Little Giant Creative focuses on Philadelphia. The short film tells the story about how redlining, various economic development projects from expanding university campus to building highways, and gentrification have negatively impacted communities of color in Philadelphia. 

​When looking at the Philadelphia HOLC map, it is easy to see how redlining in the first half of the 20th century caused disinvestment which made the previously redlined neighborhoods ripe for gentrification in the early 21st century. Many of the neighborhoods in red on the HOLC map below from 1937 (meaning they were “too risky” for lending) are now considered gentrified (Fairmount, Graduate Hospital, and Northern Liberties)

Source: Philadelphia Encyclopedia

Source: Income Change in Philadelphia Census Tracts, 2000-2014 (Pew Charitable Trusts)

The A Dream Deferred PHL makes it clear that policy caused significant negative impact to communities of color that spanned generations. Much of our discussion centered around how policy can make amends and advance equity, not perpetuate the existing inequities. We didn’t come up with any answers, but left the discussion motivated to get more involved in state and local politics and policy-making. Below are some articles for those who want to read more about the intersection of policy policy, racism, city planning, and economic development. 


  1. Know Your Price – Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities

  2. Race for Profit – How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Home Ownership


  1. Breonna Taylor’s death reveals link between urban development and racist policing

  2. How Redlining Segregated Philadelphia

  3. How ‘Penntrification’ turned Black Bottom into University City, and changed the neighborhood forever

  4. Now is the time for Penn and Philly’s other big-money nonprofits to pay PILOTS

  5. ​How Philadelphia finally changed the loved and loathed 10-year tax abatement

  6. 3 maps that explain gentrification in Philadelphia

  7. A blueprint for Revamping the Minority Business Development Agency

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