Neighborhood Commercial Corridors as Common Pool Resources
Name: Richardson Dilworth (firstname.lastname@example.org; 215-895-2471)
Department: History and Politics
Academic Area: Urban Economic Development
Title: Neighborhood Commercial Corridors as Common Pool Resources
Neighborhood commercial corridors are important assets for community secrurity, economic development, and employment, among other things. For the merchants who operate stores along these corridors, their livelihood depends on the ability of the overall corridor to attract pedestrian traffic, and pedestrians are attracted to corridors that have a diverse mix of stores with convenient hours, are conveniently located, feel safe, and are clean. A commercial corridor is, in other words, a common pool resource upon which merchants and residents both depend -- much like sheperds depend on common grazing land, or communities depend on a single water aquifer. In order to preserve these types of resources, all of the people who benefit must establish binding agreements to protect the resource in question. In the case of commercial corridors, merchants and neighboring residents establish neighborhood-level organizations -- civic associations, business associations, and business improvement districts -- whose job it is to preserve the resources that the corridor has to offer. Our research project is to explore the efficacy of organizations that attempt to coordinate the actions of merchants and residents in order to preserve and promote the resources provided by neighborhood commercial corridors.
Associated Independent Study:
We would provide the student with a reading list on community economic development, including readings specifically about community-based organizations in Philadelphia. We would ask the student to write a series of papers that integrated this literature with the more specific research on commercial corridors that we would have them do.
The student would gain knowledge about community economic development, including the various relevant federal and state programs, such as the Community Development Block Grant, the national Main Street program, and Pennsylvania's Elm Street program. The student would also learn about the various forms of community-based organizations, such as community development corporations, business improvement districts, and civic associations. Finally, the student would also gain a fine-grained knowledge of neighborhood organizations in Philadelphia, and how they connect to citywide organizations such as the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, Local Initiatives Supprt Council, etc.
The expected outcome is a book, though the student will be working on only a small piece of the overall project.
The main tasks for the student will be to: / (1) Identify the main neighborhood organizations that operate in a set of commercial corridors identified by Dilworth and Stokes; / (2) Collect relevant information on those neighborhood organizations, including staff lists, board of director meeting minutes, by-laws, etc. / (3) Interviewing the staff of the neighborhood organizations, either in person, by phone, or through email.
The student will work wherever there is an available computer and phone, either at their home or at Drexel's Department of History and Politics. The student will also be required to visit at least a few of the commercial corridors, and may also have to travel to one or more archives, the most likely being the Urban Archives at Temple University's Paley Library.
We will meet with the student at least once a week in person, and we will have additional email contact, for the entirety of the summer term. The specific days and times are relatively flexible.
April 16, April 17, April 18