Powelton Village is a neighborhood on the end of West Philadelphia, just north of Drexel University. As architecture critic Inga Saffron writes in last week’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Powelton Village has every reason to top the list of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods. Let’s start with location. As the first residential area west of Center City, it is a brisk 15-minute walk from downtown. It boasts some of the best transit connections in town, a rich stock of Italianate villas and Victorian twins, and postcard views of the skyline. Geographically, it occupies the same urban niche as Georgetown and Cambridge.”
And yet, she writes, it’s not nearly as desirable as Georgetown and Cambridge. The reason, she writes, is that Powelton Village is dominated by renter-occupied housing, mostly transient college students, who don’t maintain the houses or develop the community. A look at PolicyMap shows that she’s absolutely right—the rental rate in Powelton is 91%:
Georgetown shows significantly lower rental rates, ranging from 32% to only as high as 57%:
Saffron writes that the solution to this issue is better zoning. You can read the whole article here.