It would appear that this would be a bad week to be the publicist for the 19123 zip code. Even not counting the unpleasantness at PYT/the Piazza the other night — which is now resulting in the Piazza’s first-ever bout of white flight — there comes solidly uncomfortable facts reminding us that, hey, this is what gentrification looks like sometimes. This post on Next American City examines some newly crunched census data and reveals that 19123 — the NoLibs zip code — is among the top 25 fastest-gentrified zip codes in the country. For the creator of the chart — Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli — “gentrification” is judged more or less on an uptick in white population; as you can imagine, he’s getting plenty of flack for that. Nevertheless, NoLib’s uptick is significant — 20.9% in just three years.
What do you get when you get an uptick like that? A few things: The kind of radical turnover in development that has rendered a neighborhood like Northern Liberties pretty much unrecognizable to its former self. And due to a persistent problem of police districting that we (and many others) have remarked upon before, in the case of NoLibs, that combined with the new influxes has basically created a perfect petri dish for crime — one that no one, other than neighbors, seems truly interested in addressing. Oh, right, and the last thing you get is a lot of people complaining and buyer’s remorse all the live-long day. And that’s… gentrification!
None of this explains the Piazza shooting the other night, though, not really. It does, however, go a long way in framing people’s reactions to it.