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Patchwork Nation: The ‘Cities’ of Philadelphia

BY Dante Chinni  December 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST

Philadelphia is a sprawling city of about 1.5 million people and in Patchwork Nation, we define it as an Industrial Metropolis. It’s a place full of a lot of different neighborhoods and a lot of different economies. And that’s abundantly clear when you look here at Germantown Ave. Here in the Kensington part of the city, you see a lot of boarded up factories and empty buildings. There’s a Salvation Army center on one corner and a mosque on the other. But if you drive up Germantown Ave., you get a feel for the many different cities that make up the city of Philadelphia.

Along Germantown Ave., you see light industry and boarded up buildings give way to inexpensive retail and some cheaper restaurants and places to eat. And really, as you keep going up the street, up toward Chestnut Hill, you get to see a scope of the city, a real big economic slice, different slices of the city rolling past you.

Germantown Ave. shows the dynamism of and the challenges for Philadelphia and Industrial Metropolis counties like it in the coming years.

With contributions by Joanne Elgart Jennings, Malcolm Brown and Mike Fritz.