Public Conversation Series: Building an Agenda for Philadelphia?s Next Mayor

Posted by on December 15, 2006

Urban Studies Program
University of Pennsylvania


Urban Poverty & Prosperity: Building an Agenda for Philadelphia?s Next Mayor

Recent signs from the real estate market, downtown and neighborhood renewal suggest that Philadelphia is enjoying an urban renaissance. Yet a quarter of all Philadelphians live below the poverty line. Poverty impacts everything from crime to schools, taxes to economic development. Perhaps no other issue matters more for the city and region?s future.

This series of public events explores the social and spatial dimensions of urban poverty and their implications for economic development. As Philadelphians elect a new mayor in 2007, we ask: What can and should the next mayor do to alleviate poverty and promote shared prosperity in the 21st century city?

Speakers include civic leaders, policy makers, community activists, and scholars studying urban economies and society. Through interactive forums and collaboration with media outlets, we will gather participants? ideas and questions and pose them to the candidates for mayor.

All events are free and open to the public. All forums are hosted by Penn classes, integrating the civic and educational missions of the Urban Studies Program. These are strictly non-partisan events focused on the issues. For more info and directions, call 215-898-7799.

Black Student Alliance, Penn School of Design
Great Expectations Project (Inquirer, Penn)
Media Mobilizing Project
The Next Mayor (Daily News, WHYY, Committee of 70)
Penn Institute for Urban Research
Planners Network Delaware Valley Chapter
Research for Action
Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians


Tuesday, January 23, 4:30-6:00pm *Please RSVP: 215-898-7799*
The Greater Philadelphia Labor Market and the Working Poor
Harnwell College House, Rooftop lounge, 3820 Locust Walk

Poverty and prosperity grow out of the sorts of jobs available to a city and region?s residents, as well as residents? own skills and preparedness for work. What is the ?opportunity structure? of the Philadelphia region?s labor market? What sorts of jobs and development can our workforce support? This forum will examine the challenges and opportunities facing working poor people, civic organizations, and city government as we seek to promote effective and equitable economic growth. Panelists include:
? Lance Haver, City of Philadelphia
? Jeff Hornstein, Service Employees International Union
? Janice Madden, Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania (invited)
? Anne O?Callaghan, Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
? Thomas Sugrue, University of Pennsylvania

Hosts: Urban Studies 210/City Planning 605, The City: Urban Policy & Communities
Urban Studies/Sociology 420, Perspectives on Urban Poverty

Monday, February 5, 3:30-5:00pm
School Reform and Equitable Development
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street (enter on the side)

Education is critical to promoting personal and collective prosperity. Yet poverty is an obstacle to effective education, from the level of individual schools to entire districts and regions. How are Philadelphians connecting education reform to workforce and economic development? What else can our citizens and politicians do to improve our schools and our young people?s chances for prosperity? Panelists include:
? Representatives of Research for Action
? Ruth Nield, Penn Graduate School of Education (invited)
? Clarence Stone, George Washington University (invited)
? Other panelists TBA

Hosts: Urban Studies 104/History 153, Urban Crisis
Urban Studies/Education 202, Urban Education

Co-sponsored by: Penn Institute for Urban Research
Research for Action


Tuesday, February 13, 3:00-4:30pm
Public Safety, Poverty, and the Justice System
200 College Hall, Locust Walk between 34th and 36th Streets

Philadelphia?s crisis of violent crime and overcrowded prisons is clearly rooted in the city?s poverty. How can we better understand the relationship between poverty, public safety, and the failures of the criminal justice system? What can citizens, civic organizations, and politicians do about these problems? This moderated discussion will explore these and other issues with:
? Naima Black, Pennsylvania Prison Society
? Jeff Draine, Penn School of Social Policy and Practice, Inside Out Project
? Lawrence Sherman, Criminology, University of Pennsylvania
? Police Commissioner?s office (invited)
? Moderator: Eric Schneider, Associate Dean, Penn College of Arts and Sciences
? Other panelists TBA

Hosts: Criminology 200, Criminal Justice
Urban Studies 110, Crime and Punishment
Urban Studies 210/City Planning 605, The City: Urban Policy & Communities
Urban Studies/Sociology 420, Perspectives on Urban Poverty


Monday, February 26, 3:30-5:00pm
Welfare Reform a Decade Later: Consequences and Prospects
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street (enter on the side)

Ten years ago the U.S. government ended ?welfare as we knew it.? What has replaced our old systems of social support? How have low-wealth Philadelphians fared in the transition from welfare to work? What can government and community organizations do to address the challenges that remain for the city?s poorest residents? Panelists include:
? John Dodds, Executive Director, Philadelphia Unemployment Project
? Jean Hunt, Director, Campaign for Working Families, Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition
? Roberta Iversen, Penn School of Social Policy and Practice
? Moderator: Mark Stern, Co-Director, Urban Studies Program
? Other panelists TBA

Host: Urban Studies 104/History 153, Urban Crisis


Wednesday, March 21, 3:30-5:00pm
Global Poverty, Migration and Community Building in West Philadelphia
Location TBA

How should we understand the links between global poverty and local poverty? In recent decades, poverty and wars in other parts of the world have sent many people to Philadelphia. Immigrants and refugees have settled in most of the city?s low-wealth neighborhoods. Newcomers and receiving communities alike face challenges to achieving individual and collective prosperity. Focusing on West Philadelphia?s immigrant and receiving communities, this forum explores how civic organizations are addressing human rights and economic development at the local and international levels. We will ask what the city?s next mayor can and should do to promote shared prosperity as Philadelphia strives to become ever more a ?global city.? Panelists include:
? Bernard Anderson, Wharton, Overseas Investment Corporation
? Mathew Creighton, Philadelphia Migration Project, Penn Demography
? Agatha Johnson, AfriCaribe Micro-Enterprise Network
? Moderator: Domenic Vitiello, Penn Urban Studies Program
? Other panelists TBA

Hosts: Urban Studies 104/History 153, Urban Crisis
Urban Studies/Sociology 270, Ethnicity: The Immigrant City

Co-sponsored by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians

Friday, March 30, 2-5pm

Learning from the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative

Over the past six years, Philadelphia has been home to one of the most ambitious urban renewal programs in the nation. How has it fought poverty and promoted prosperity in different communities? What specific lessons can the city?s next mayor learn from the successes and failures of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative? This bus tour will visit with NTI?s planners, developers, and critics at three sites: the People?s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation in West Philadelphia; Brewerytown Square in lower North Philadelphia; and the American Street area of West Kensington.

Co-sponsored by:
Delaware Valley chapter of the Planners Network
Penn Design Black Student Alliance conference, Unspoken Borders

*** RSVP Required! Call: 215-898-7799 ***


Tuesday, April 10, 3-6pm *Please RSVP: 215-898-7799*

Poverty and Prosperity in 21st Century Philadelphia: An Interactive Agenda-Building Exercise

Location TBA

The final event of this series brings together national and local experts to discuss the state of poverty alleviation and wealth creation in the United States today. After a presentation on New York City?s plan for Increasing Economic Opportunity and Reducing Poverty, a panel of leading professionals will discuss what Philadelphia can learn from New York?s initiative. Finally, in small break-out discussions, all participants will be invited to help build a ?citizens? agenda? on poverty and prosperity for Philadelphia?s next mayor. Panelists include:
? Willie Baptist, Founder, University of the Poor
? Gloria Guard, Executive Director, People?s Emergency Center
? Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Executive Director, Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition (invited)
? Veronica White, Executive Director, New York City Commission on Economic Opportunity (invited)
? Moderator: Chris Satullo, Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board

Hosts: Urban Studies 210, The City: Urban Policy & Communities
Urban Studies 420, Perspectives on Urban Poverty

Co-sponsored by: Great Expectations Project of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Penn PRAXIS

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