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A Plan for Philadelphia: Reconciliation, Recovery, Resilience

“Rebuilding Philly: Perspectives on How the City can Recover from the Pandemic” is a series of expert essays published jointly by Drexel and The Philadelphia Inquirer in late 2021. The Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation reached out to a diverse group of thinkers at Drexel University to imagine a plan for economic recovery, racial equity, and a sustained resilience for Philadelphia. The series will be published on a rolling schedule through the end of the year here on DrexelNow and on a select basis in The Inquirer.

Philadelphia continues to grapple with the magnitude of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the civic unrest following the murder of George Floyd. Well before the pandemic the city was struggling. But the pandemic set our racial economic equity gaps in stark relief — making clear the different worlds that white and Black and brown Americans lived in. From this turmoil also sprang innovation and an expanded sense of opportunity. The essays in this series are a snapshot of conversations growing out of the spring and summer of 2020, representing the beginning of the framing of a path forward.

Evening traffic on the streets of Philadelphia. Downtown and City Hall in background.

After the 2020 Protests, Let’s Reimagine Urban Green Space as a Way to Promote Social Justice

There is a growing recognition that social justice is also environmental justice and health justice. Those goals can all be achieved in the redesign of physical spaces, writes College of Engineering Professor Franco Montalto, PhD, in this “Rebuilding Philly” essay.

A sign on a window reading "Sorry we're closed."

Bolstering Commercial Corridors Is a Vital Part of Rebounding From COVID-19

As small retailers close, the commercial corridors they occupy face the prospect of a downward spiral, and the impact is most likely to be greater in poorer communities, Richardson Dilworth, PhD, head and professor in Drexel’s Department of Politics, wrote in a “Rebuilding Philly” essay.

A protest sign reads "Fight today for a better tomorrow."

Let’s Start Crafting Environmental Policy Through an Anti-Racist Lens

Pursuing equity and sustainability together requires a dramatic shift in thinking, Drexel’s Gwen Ottinger and Jennifer Britton wrote in this “Rebuilding Philly” essay.

Cars lined up at the drive-through testing site in South Philadelphia outside Citizens Bank Park.

For the City’s Public Health Infrastructure, Key Lessons From the Pandemic

The spread of COVID-19 illustrated yet again how systemic racism, in its many manifestations, profoundly shapes the health of Black people and people of color in our city, writes the School of Public Health’s Ana V. Diez Roux in this “Rebuilding Philly” essay originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Semi-opened Laptop Computer Turned-on on Table.

Fixing the Digital Divide Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does

While initiatives and related efforts to provide computers and connectivity to all can help, it’s not nearly enough — and it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem, writes the College of Engineering and ExCITe Center’s Youngmoo Kim in this essay originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer as part of “Rebuilding Philly.”

The "Reach High and You Will Go Far" mural by Josh Sarantitis at 20th and Arch streets.

Introducing Rebuilding Philly, a Series on Creating a More Equitable City in the Wake of COVID-19

In this essay published in The Philadelphia Inquirer as part of a new collaboration with Drexel experts, the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation’s Harris M. Steinberg and Bruce Katz share their vision of learning from the events of 2020 and 2021 for a better Philadelphia.