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October 17, 2019
Richard Florida Releases Inclusive Prosperity Report
Inaugural Philadelphia Fellow focuses on work of anchor institutions in spreading economic growth to include all of the city’s neighborhoods
PHILADELPHIA – Richard Florida, PhD, a distinguished scholar known for his groundbreaking research on urban demographic changes, today released a report, Philadelphia’s Next Challenge: From Urban Revitalization to Inclusive Prosperity, to culminate his work as the inaugural Philadelphia Fellow. The outcome of the fellowship, conceived and initiated by Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University City Science Center, will be presented on Oct. 17th at Venture Café Philadelphia (3675 Market Street) from 5-6 p.m.
“We’re grateful to Richard for holding a mirror to the city’s challenges in equity and inclusion, but also for offering recommendations for how anchor institutions can deepen their commitment to spreading prosperity to the city as a whole. He’s issued a worthy challenge and we look forward to working collaboratively to realize it,” said John Fry, president of Drexel University.
The report’s findings warn that Philadelphia must address issues relating to inequality and inclusion if it is to continue its growth trajectory. While its gentrification and affordability issues are not yet as challenging as most leading cities, its lagging median income, education attainment and poverty markers contribute to the city being among the nation’s worst in inequality and segregation metrics. Among its findings which signal a need for decisive, collaborative action:
“Philadelphia’s health and education disparities have held it back from reaching its full potential. Jefferson is committed to helping design the healthy and smart cities of the future, including here at home. We look forward to working together with our partners to create action steps for moving forward,” said Mark Tykocinski, MD, provost of Thomas Jefferson University.
To remedy these negative trends, Florida suggests the city’s anchors institutions work with the City, Chamber of Commerce and community leaders to implement four pillars:
“The University City Science Center’s partnership with Thomas Jefferson University and Drexel University underscores the central role that anchor institutions play in ensuring the innovation economy creates opportunities for everyone, and the Science Center looks forward to continuing to lead as a hub of inclusive prosperity to advance the growth trajectory of the city for everyone,” said Tracy Brala, the Science Center’s vice president of ecosystem development.
The Philadelphia Fellowship is a collaborative program created in 2018 by the three partner institutions to invite thought leaders and scholars to Philadelphia for year-long research engagements focused on pressing urban issues, such as inclusive economic growth, infrastructure renewal and development of smart cities.
Florida was selected for the inaugural Fellowship for his pathbreaking writing and research as author of two seminal urbanist treatises—The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis. Florida also serves as the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and Professor in the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.
"Philadelphia is one of my favorite cities and it was an honor to take a deep dive into its difficult challenges and immense opportunities for prosperity that includes all of its residents through the Philadelphia Fellowship. I believe both the city and the highly engaged leadership I met through this work can meet the challenge ahead and blaze a more equitable trail that other cities will look to and follow,” said Florida.