• WE ARE HERE: THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF DREXEL UNIVERSITY’S EXPANSION ON MANTUA AND POWELTON VILLAGE

      Rosan, Christina; Pearsall, Hamil; Ferman, Barbara; Mason, Randall (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      Drexel University, a private university in Philadelphia, is expanding its campus to attract more students, faculty, and researchers. The current President, John Fry, envisions transforming West Philadelphia into an innovation district. The university is working with real estate developers on a $3.5 billion real estate project at Schuylkill Yards, in addition to mixed-use student housing and projects. The development goals of the university will impact the social conditions of the long-term residents of the two neighboring communities, Mantua and Powelton Village. In addition to the larger developers who are working with Drexel, numerous small-scale developers are developing market-rate student housing around the periphery of the two communities. In the process, the developers are disrupting the character of the neighborhoods and changing the racial demographics of the Mantua community from a predominantly African American community into one that reflects predominantly White and Asian demographics of the university. The combination of Drexel University and the developers is threatening to “studentify” the Mantua community. In the process Mantua, is at risk of losing the cultural elements that have defined the neighborhood for decades, in addition to their sense of belonging in the neighborhoods where the residents have lived for generations. This research is a qualitative assessment of the social changes to the two communities as a result of Drexel’s expansion activities. A social sustainability framework was developed based on the results of a cultural landscape assessment and structured and semistructured interviews of long-term residents, business owners, community leaders, and university officials.