TheBSQ t1_jeg7tfv wrote

Personally, when I hear “lawlessness” I don’t take it to mean that it’s thunder dome all over.

I think if it more in the sense of “are laws being enforced?”

And, like, sure it’s not like no laws are being enforced but enforcement is pretty darn minimal.

I live here, I go about my day, and I’m not particularly concerned about my personal safety, but are the cops gonna do anything to help my friend whose car got stolen? Nope. How about anything about the blatant drug dealing that’s been happening on the corner for years? Also nope. The smoking and drug use on the El? Nope. Has the person who car jacked my neighbor been caught? Nope. Have they arrested anyone for a majority of the homicides? Nope.

So like, do I expect to get shot or robbed or whatever when I take my family out for dinner tonight on a patio?

No, not really. It’s not non-stop murder out there (although matching the homicide rate if Cartagena, Colombia isn’t really a source of civic pride either.)

But…we all know that a ton of laws are not being enforced, and I don’t think “lawlessness” is that terribly of a word choice to express this situation of widespread non-enforcement of laws, even if it’s not total chaos and mayhem out on the streets.


TheBSQ t1_jeatsq1 wrote

There was a prediction in the decline of urban populations before the pandemic.

A very common lifecycle in the US is to grow up in the burbs, move to the city as a young adult, then go back to the burbs to raise kids.

Millennials are the biggest generation though, so when they hit the “move to the city” phase, urban populations rose. And due to great financial crisis, student debt, etc. they were also poorer and delayed family formation (and delayed leaving for the burbs), which mean their large urban pop blip hung around longer than previous generations.

This millennial blip fueled US urban renewal.

But even before the pandemic, demographers were noting that Millennials were finally getting around to family formation and starting the typical “return to the burbs” part of the American lifestyle.

Anecdotally, as an Xennial, most of my friends were city-dwelling & child-free right up until they started hitting the “now or never” child-bearing deadlines, and right around 40 nearly all my child-free friends suddenly had kids. Some immediately left for the burbs. Some stuck around for a couple years, but the vast vast majority bailed for the burbs.

WFH has definitely facilitated this, but the crime / unhoused / opioid issues ain’t helping.

When you’re twenty-something, a little city grit is fine. Some dirty needles, smoking on trains, gun violence…it just kinda rolls off the shoulders. By the time you’re 40, it gets old, and when you’re a parent it hits different. Plus, you just kinda age out of stuff like live music, bars, the new hip restaurant, parties, clubs, etc.

That being said, due to Millennials staying in urban settings longer, being more climate conscious, I think they’re more reluctant to give up on walkability, transit, etc. so I think when they are leaving, they’re opting for the denser suburbs with walkable main streets, with transit access into the city, your Ardmore, Collingswood, etc. (Maplewood is popular with my NYC friends).

That, or they’re moving to more affordable 2nd tier cities where you can buy a bit more space, or places like the little artsy towns of the Catskills.

Anyway, here’s some pre-pandemic “millennials are leaving the big cities for the suburbs” articles.

Read those, and then toss in how city issues related to crime, addiction, the unhoused, etc. have gotten worse while WFH / remote work has become more common.

Those trends will only increase, especially as more millennials age hit the “now or never” child-bearing deadlines.

Gen Z will inherit shrinking cities with growing problems. And once the pandemic era federal aid to transit systems runs dry, transit is gonna have some real issues too. 2020s are the new 1970s.


TheBSQ t1_jeanmyx wrote

The annual ACS definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. (They did mess up Philly’s poverty rate a few years ago.)

And the decline is big enough that even if it is over-estimating the decline, it’s probably still a decline. And it declined last year too.

I agree that I wouldn’t rush to conclusions until we’ve got another year of data, but I also wouldn’t just hand-wave it away and assume it’s incorrect, especially in one particular direction. Maybe it’s under-estimating the decline.

But yeah, next year, if we get a decline again, and the l 3-year ACS date file shows a decline, then it’s probably a decline.


TheBSQ t1_je56ftw wrote

I take my young kids to playgrounds almost every day, and one thing that you notice is just how different the parenting vibe can be from one playground to the next.

When little kids play they’re not terribly self-aware. In their excitement, they can knock other kids over. Or they’ll see a kid with a toy they like and want to take it and play with it. Or they may slide down a slide without waiting for the other kid to get off, or they may stand at the bottom of the slide, preventing others from going down.

My favorite parks are the ones where the parents don’t obsessively hover, trying to micro manage every step their kid takes, but are still present enough to step in when these things happen and teach kids about being mindful of others, sharing, patience, courtesy, and kindness.

And it’s amazing to watch as the kids grow up in these communities to the point where parents no longer need to step in. The kids have learned courtesy, patience, kindness, etc. and they do it on their own.

My least favorite are the “feral kids” playgrounds where parents don’t do this, and their kids don’t learn courtesy, empathy, kindness, and self-control.

At these places bigger kids still knock over little kids, still don’t understand not hogging equipment, and still engage in disruptive behavior that ruins the ability of other kids to enjoy and use the playground, if they’re not causing outright physical injuries.

They’re not bad kids.

They don’t act out of malice, they just never learned how their actions negatively affect others, and were never taught to control their own behavior to lessen that negative effect on others. They’re just out there doing whatever they want to do, and it just doesn’t really click that they’re negatively affecting others, the same way someone setting off fireworks in the streets because it’s fun probably isn’t asking themselves if those fireworks are waking up a sleeping baby in a nearby house and making life miserable for that baby’s parents, or triggering a vet’s PTSD.

They’re having fun, and it may even seem unfair to them that they’re supposed to refrain from doing something they like because others are bothered. They often feel like they are the victim and are being treated unfairly.

Like, they notice that the other kids weren’t reprimanded, but they don’t get that it’s because the other kids didn’t do the bad thing. They just see “I got yelled at, but they didn’t. That’s unfair.”

But the other aspect that’s kind of sad (but also annoying) is how desperate for attention these “feral” kids are.

they’ll notice that you praised your kid (“good job! You went down the slide all by yourself!”) and these other kids will then follow you and your kid around doing stuff and asking for your praise, insist on playing with you, begging for your constant attention.

And, of course, you’re polite, and tell them good job and all that, but they’ll keep getting more and more intrusive, even pushing your own kid down, trying to get them out of your attention, and demanding you give them attention over your own kids. your own kid is crying, or hurt, while they’re going “look at me, look at me.”

And through it all you can see the parent sitting off on the other side, just staring at their phone. And if an incident escalated enough, or someone reaches out to the parent, the reaction is typically to scold, threaten to hit, or to outright hit the hit for being bad.

But one thing you notice is the kids are rarely told what was bad, or how to be good. All they know is they were doing whatever they wanted for a long period of time, and then they got punished, sometimes physically, and the reason given is “because I told you so,” “you respect your mother,” etc. no logic. No lessons on empathy. Just authoritarian power. Might makes right.

(And it’s sad to see them so desperate for attention, but when they do finally get it, it’s just negative and disciplinary.)

you see these kids imitate that in their own interactions using threats and hitting to stop behavior in others that they don’t like. I’ve even had kids try to play make believe with me where they want me to pretend my kid is their kid and they saw it be bad and want to hit the kid. And you’re like, “uh…we’re not playing a game where you hit my kid, and who the fuck are your parents because I think CPS should look into your home life.”

so you see these patterns forming. No one teaching courtesy, patience, sharing, or how one’s actions affect others. You just do whatever you want. And if you don’t like what someone else does, and/or feel disrespected, you stop it with physical force, and conversely, you do whatever you want, until someone stops you with physical force. And when told to stop, they feel it’s unfair, like they’re the victim.

And when you spend years watching this happen in other children as you raise your own, the stories you hear from teachers, or the incidents you hear about if young teens attacking someone or trashing a store, it all kinda fits.

It’s that same “feral kids at the playground” experience, but with teens / young adults let loose in the world. Same so what you want, don’t care how it affects others, solve disputes with force. Same shit.

And, of course, you understand how this carries into schools and how one of the biggest difference between a “good” school and a “bad” one is what percentage of the kids were raised with kindness, and which didn’t learn. And it only takes a tiny percentage to disrupt a classroom.

and so just like how there’s certain playgrounds I avoid, there’s schools I also avoid, and it’s for similar reasons. It’s not really about facilities, funding, etc. it’s about which kids are you surrounding your kids with.

And you see it so young.

Like, my wife and I saw a neighbor’s kid, probably age 3, run out of the house with a giant butcher’s knife, in a diaper, screaming “I’ll fucking kill you” to his older sibling. No way am I sending my kid to school with that kid!

There’s this crucial window, like ages 2-5, where how you shape a child is so important. And sometimes it’s not till like 8-10 where you really see the negative aspects coming out.

And so when I hear about how schools need more resources to deal with problems, or there needs to be more after-school programs, I think that’s all well and good, and I support it. Let’s try everything.

but there’s a part of me thinks the real interventions are needed at those very early ages. After that, it’s bandaids and mitigations. It’s marginal and incremental benefits. The real work needs to happen young. Like even universal pre-k is already late enough where you’re dealing with consequences.

And ultimately, nothing will really work until what’s happening inside that home changes.

And sometimes it’s not even really that parent’s fault. Sometimes they themselves are really young, or tired, or stressed out, or just parenting by mimicking how they themselves were parented (my mom hit me and I turned out fine!) Maybe helping parents with incomeX resources, etc. can help, but I think we can’t neglect the underlying ways the kids are being socialized and say it’s just about support and money.

It’s made harder since parents are very defensive when it comes to advice on how to better raise their kids. So how the fuck do you change that?! Like, some hippie/yuppie person coming in and teaching about love and mindfulness. The “be quiet or I’ll whoop your ass” parents are gonna roll their eyes at that shit.

And the frustrating part is any time there’s a video of some kids trashing a store or disrupting a classroom, half the comments are basically insinuating these kids need a beat down, with commenters explaining that their parents would have whooped their ass if they acted that way.

And, it’s like, part of the problem is that’s probably exactly how these kids were raised, that parental beatings are the only discipline they know. And they also know that teachers, strangers, etc. likely won’t do that, or will get in trouble if they do, so essentially the only punishment they know is off the table, which means they’re free to do whatever.

So, it’s kinda fucked up because that discipline style is a huge part of why they feel free to be terrible, but it’s also the only style they respond to. It’s a big part of the cause but they’re already so messed up and broken, the better methods that work on unbroken people probably won’t sway them.

That window to teach them properly already passed.

And even more, the thing that was engrained early (be good in front of your parent or you’ll get beat) means they often don’t do this in front of their parents, which leads the parent to conclude that their parenting style works, leaving them flabbergasted when their “good” kid gets in trouble because parental beatings as the only guide-rails towards shitty behavior may work when parents are present and paying attention, but do nothing when parents are not present or not paying attention.


TheBSQ t1_je4tif7 wrote

Ok, you’ve had your cathartic vent where you complain that others are idiots.

So, let’s switch back to being constructive.

What is this community advice you say works well?

Is there a city or neighborhood success story you can point to? A neighborhood that once had a very high homicide/crime rate that implemented this advice, lowered the crime, and sustained those lower crime rates, and did so without displacing the existing population?

ideally, there’s example where one can show two neighborhoods with similarly bad crime rates, one that did the policy, and another that didn’t, and then you can compare the two before and after.

That’s basically the gist of what a lot of academic policy evaluation papers do, but even just a place where you think it’s worked well would be cool for people to see.


TheBSQ t1_jcmzn3e wrote

So, my understanding is that they taught the Bible in public schools back then.

Since Catholics and Protestants have slightly different versions of the Bible, the Catholics asked if it was ok if in their neighborhood schools, would it be ok if their public schools used the Catholic Bible.

The Protestants only considered the Protestant Bible to be the true Bible, and the (slightly different) Bible used by the Catholics was therefore not the Bible.

And so this was characterized as “removing” the Bible from public schools, which really angered everyone who believed that teaching the Bible in public schools was very important.

In this era where people would flip out if you taught the Bible in public school, it’s so nuts that this fight was about which version schools should teach in public schools.

It should also be noted that this was just about two years after the Lombard Street Riots, where the Catholics were actually the aggressors, and were rioting against the Black population. And in that riot, the main Catholic instigators pretty much avoided punishment.

Crazy that in two years, the Catholics were involved in two sets of riots, one where they were the bigots, and another where they were the victims of bigotry. Wild time those 1840s.


TheBSQ t1_j9czdhb wrote

Ticketing people is only PPA’s job on streets with parking meters, time limits, or ones that require a residential permit. They enforce their parking rules, not the city’s.

Anywhere else, it’s PPD.

That’s why you can get a PPA ticket for being 5 minutes past the meter, but if you’re in on a non-permit street, you can park on the sidewalk or in the middle of the road, and violate every parking rule and nothing will happen.


TheBSQ t1_j8xqtt6 wrote

I really like all the parks, playgrounds story hours, play groups, etc. in my area.

It’s a great way to meet other families.

When I’m visiting my MiL in the burbs, it’s kinda sad how we’re often one of the only ones at the neighborhood park.

(But, to violate the positivity thing…there’s a lot of stuff about this city that are also not terribly family friendly and I get why may of my friends with kids have left, although this varies tremendously by neighborhood.)


TheBSQ t1_j8vdw8y wrote

I’ve lived in 8 other big cities besides Philly. A lot of what drives me crazy about Philly is because I’ve lived in so many other cities that are so much less dysfunctional.

I always figured it was the opposite. Seems like most of the people I know who love Philly are from here (or the region) and don’t have much lived experience in other big cities.

A lot of the transplants I’ve met since moving here 6 years ago have already left. The ones who haven’t don’t really love it, but stay because they can afford to buy here, and can’t in the big cities they like more.


TheBSQ t1_j8vafdp wrote

Strollers make you much more aware of all the sidewalk and street issues you step over or walk around without realizing it.

Don’t get me wrong, the walkability is good, but strollers can be frustrating. I opted for a carrier in many situations.


TheBSQ t1_j8v96k6 wrote

It’s tiny, kinda dingy, and it’s hours make it basically unusable for anyone with a M-F 9-5 job.

That being said, I am very appreciate of tall they do with what they have. My family makes heavy use of it and the community is much better because of it.

But it’s not amazing.

I’d take pretty much any randomly chosen suburban library over it. And I know a lot of people in Fishtown who go to the one in Port Richmond because they prefer it.


TheBSQ t1_j8v7bvd wrote

I think it’s possible that this ends up simultaneously helping Philly overall, but also increasing the disparities in outcomes within Philly.

If you look at a place like DC, they spend a lot per student, I think $30k, but still have terrible outcomes. And thats because poverty, community violence, parents with low educational attainment, etc. create huge issues.

Money can help, but only so much.

But, for the parts of the city that don’t have those issues, that extra money could make those schools more comparable to ones in the burbs, or some private schools.

If that makes some of the educationally focused parents who currently flee to the burbs or send their kids to private school more willing to send their kids to Philly public schools, you could see some of those non-low-income neighborhood schools achieve outcomes that become more on par with the better suburban schools.

That is, schools can have issues because of the school itself, or because it’s reflecting the underlying issues of the household and community it serves.

So, in the parts of the city where the issue is less the households & community, and instead the school itself, the money will help more than where the issues are more about the community and households since those problems are too massive for schools to fix, even with more funding.

It’ll still help!

Everywhere will get better, but not at the same rate, so the gap between them may actually get wider, not narrower.

Or, like, if they can get scores up 10% across the board, then schools scoring a 25 could go up to 27.5, and the ones scoring 65 could go up to 71.5

Both improve, but the gap increase from 40 to 44.

Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s kind of my gut feeling.

It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out and will make for a nice little natural experiment for some future researcher to study the effects of school funding on outcomes.


TheBSQ t1_j8jnct8 wrote

I lived in NYC for a long time in many neighborhoods in many Burroughs.

Please remember that Philly‘a crime and homicide rates are much higher than NYC and, and I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but living in Flatbush may not carry as much weight as you think.

That being said…

East Passyunk is popular. People like South Philly. There’s also the Gayborhood. I don’t know how those areaa are for your price point.

There’s a pretty good LGTBQ+ scene in West Philly, esp. around Clark Park.

In the more Fishtown adjacent areas, Port Richmond and Olde Kensington maybe places to consider.

But, even with your high threshold comment, know that if looking over there, as you get further away from Pt Richmond / Fishtown and move closer towards Kensington & Allegheny, you will experience more of the spillover effects of the opioid epidemic. More package thefts, car break-ins, encampments, squatters, dirty needles, calling 911 on someone suffering an overdose. Similarly, the experience on the El gets worse as you go up. I think generally, stay south of Lehigh, or, if north of Lehigh, east of Aramingo.


TheBSQ t1_j8jl5v5 wrote

You named a few areas, and the vibes / attitude / politics of those areas can vary by quite a bit. Without knowing you, it’s hard to recommend which is best, but it’s hard to imagine how some of these places end up on the same list.

Your price points will make buying into places like Chestnut Hill or the nicer parts of Mt. Airy hard, unless you take on a project or get lucky. Both are also much less urban than the others, but each have their little commercial areas that are walkable. But, to get to downtown by transit, you’d need to take regional rail. It’s nicer than subway/El, but less frequent and costs more. Wissahickon is an absolutely gorgeous piece of nature though. There also actually a small neighborhood called Wissahickon up by Manayunk that maybe you’d want to add.

One issue with the Northeast is that if your plan is to take the El as your transit option to downtown, you’ll pass through the part of the city most ravaged by opioids on your way between the the NE and center city. you’ll definitely see some shit during those stretch of stops.

I saw no mention of West Philly. Some parts are rough, but parts closer to the universities are popular, and it’ll definitely have more trees than, say South Philly.

Definitely visit. There’s some neighborhoods that have great walkability, restaurants, relatively low crime, etc. that lots of people love but can be a lot of concrete and brick with not much trees or much in the way of nature.

It kinda depends on how much nature you need.

Like will street trees, a city park, and the running path along the river cut it? Or do you need like legit Forrest / creek (like Wissahickon, pennypack park, etc.)


TheBSQ t1_j8jighl wrote

This is the experience of both me and my wife. very limited job.

But on the flip side I was talking with a friend who took a Philly job and is trying to expand his team here and he keeps telling me about how when he did this in NYC, he had lines of highly qualified people lining up, but here, he isn’t getting many applicants and they tend to be lower quality.

That’s just a single anecdote, but I know for me and my wife, the jobs we did get, they acted extremely grateful that we took them and spoke openly about struggling to find people.

I get the feeling that it’s less dynamic all around. Less quality openings and less quality applicants.

Along those lines, me and many of my “moved here for a job” friends have had numerous conversations about how much easier it is to be considered “great” here.

we all were fighting tooth and nail to in NYC to be considered average, and here it’s really easy to be the company superstar. Good place to be a “big fish in a small pond” not that Philly is that small of a pond, but at least for the industries that my social circle works in, Philly isn’t the the city for that industry the way NYC is for finance, Bay Area for tech, LA for Hollywood, etc.


TheBSQ t1_j7j3lvr wrote

The city is still about 500k people below its peak population. In theory, there should be lots of room! (Much has been lost to blight though.)

The main issue is that a lot of people write off large swaths of the city because of crime. They tends to have a very short list of areas they’re actually willing to live in. Much of that is some of the densest residential areas in the country, so it’s hard to argue that land use is that bad. In fact, many places with bad land use often point to parts of Philly as a rare example where it’s not terrible in this country.

Like, there’s lots of areas along the MFL and BSL that, in theory, have good density, Walkability, transit access, good mix of commercial and residential. The land use is actually pretty solid, but it’s a shit show in terms of crime and opioids and it’s that that really limits living options.


TheBSQ t1_j7izgmb wrote

I believe cops and firefighters are only subject to residency requirements for a limited number of years.

Otherwise, I believe all other municipal jobs are subject to it, and that means all the suggestions for the Mainline and all those areas Iike Lower Marion, Ardmore, Narberth, Wynnewood, etc. are totally off limits.