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Parking Lot Paradise: Callowhill Essay

2051 words - 9 pages

As I drive southbound from Trenton into Philadelphia on I-95 South, it is impossible to avoid potholes, constant construction, and terrible drivers. The frustration mounts throughout the journey, until off in the distance the jutting of skyscrapers can be seen cutting through the clouds. Philadelphia, is so close now. I take the Callowhill exit, and I know that I’ve made it home. From the exit to my apartment is merely a ten minute drive. Those ten minutes are more than enough to take in the sights and sounds of Callowhill Street and the neighborhood surrounding it. The surface of Callowhill is rough with its abandoned factories, rusted fences, overgrown parking lots and overall ...view middle of the document...

The Franklin-Callowhill East Urban Renewal movement that was headed by the city from 1958 onward made promises of revival for not only the neighborhood but also the city as a whole. How and why then did a plan with such socioeconomic promise fail? It is the aim of this research paper to examine, inform, and discover how and why a failure of this nature occurred and the ramifications that followed. Callowhill’s decline was the result of deindustrialization in Philadelphia and a failed urban renewal effort, but the neighborhood is making a comeback as a residential hotspot.
In the years before the turn of the twentieth century Philadelphia was still feeling the effects of the “Workshop of the World” and was a city on the rise. The latter years to follow the turn of the century the people and city of Philadelphia experienced the highs and lows of war, recession, depression, post-industrialism and the renewal of the city. The Callowhill neighborhood felt this rise and fall of industry like many neighborhoods in the city, but none were more so affected by the entirety of the twentieth like this area. The city of Philadelphia and the Nation would experience massive loss of industrial jobs beginning primarily after the absolute apex in 1951. Philadelphia would go from nearly three hundred seventy thousand manufacturing and industrial jobs in 1951 to only twenty five thousand currently. Proportionately, the nation would fall from sixteen million manufacturing and industrial jobs to thirteen million .
This decline of jobs spells disaster for the city who not only saw the decline of middle and working class jobs but also the decline of the middle and working classes. At the cities height nearly two and a quarter million people called the city and county home, currently only one and a half million people reside in Philadelphia . The city would spend many of its future redevelopment and renewal attempts at revitalizing the lost middle classes on the city to the best of its ability, these efforts have yet to be realized.
Greater Philadelphia, the "Workshop of the World," felt the impact of national and international events during two world wars and the Great Depression. Although the region's rate of industrial growth slowed in the first half of the twentieth century, the demands created by war energized manufacturing, particularly in shipyards on both sides of the Delaware River. The textile industry also boomed during the 1920s before being undercut by the onset of the Depression.
By the 1920s, movements of people and industries signaled a new era. The surge of immigration from eastern and southern Europe that had begun in the late nineteenth century came to an end with the First World War and immigration quotas imposed in 1924. The region did not lack for newcomers, however, as the employment opportunities created during the world wars helped to spur the Great Migration of African Americans from the South. African Americans formed new...

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