We as a group would like to explore how Camden, once a thriving industrial city, is now best known for urban decay and violence. We want to explore the rise and fall of the city, how Philadelphia impacts the city, as well as understanding how development projects can revitalize the city of Camden.



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Camden New Jersey was discovered by a group of Europeans in 1626, according to Camden City’s historical website. Much of Camden’s early growth resulted from the founding of Philadelphia in 1682 ("History,"). These two neighboring cities are separated by the Delaware River. At the time when Philadelphia was founded both cities were merely groups of settlements. In order to allow for a more accessible trade market between the settlements a ferry system was created. This extensive system of multiple ferry points along both sides of the Delaware River made it possible for the growth of settlements on the eastern side of the river, which then consolidated into the city we now know to be Camden. During this time period the structures that were built correlated with the ferry industry. It was common to see taverns, hotels, and pleasure gardens near the various ferry stops. Camden’s historical website describes how in 1812, “the first state bank south of Trenton was approved by the New Jersey Legislature” and then by 1821 Camden had even created its own newspaper called the American Star ("History," ). By 1840, Camden’s population had reached 3,371 ("History,”).

Camden was moving in the right economic direction. The inclusion of Camden on the Amboy Transportation Service Railroad and the Atlantic Railroad made way for great economic growth and development for the city. Following the success of the two railroads there were another, “six railroad companies that were constructed by the year 1881 linking Camden to Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, the Atlantic seashore and points west” ("History," ). This connection that Camden had with other cities and towns within the region greatly contributed to Camden’s early success.

Another great development in Camden was the electric trolley system, established in 1871. The electric trolley system was created to connect parts of the City with the ferryboats located on the waterfront. Camden’s ferry, electric trolley, and railroad systems helped attract business to Camden and by the start nineteenth century Camden was home to “lumber dealers, manufacturers of wooden shingles, pork sausage manufacturers, candle factories, coachmaker shops that manufactured carriages and wagons, tanneries, blacksmiths, and harness makers” ("History," ). The second half of the nineteenth century did even better than the first. Businesses expanded as more immigrants came to reside and work in the city of Camden. Howard Gillette in his book "Camden After the Fall" portrayed Camden as a city in 1917 with, “365 industries employing 51,000 people” (Gillette, 2006). Camden, a younger, smaller community was starting to stand on its own and make its way out from under Philadelphia’s older, more established shadow.

Camden built attractions at a very high speed. Starting with the Walt Whitman Hotel built in 1925 which is still standing, and in need of repair, on Cooper Street. The next big thing that came to Camden in 1926 was the Stanley Movie Theater followed by the opening of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on July 4, 1926. The bridge connected Philadelphia and Camden and it was believed to bring even more success and growth to the city of Camden. Following the construction of the bridge, came the 1927 Sears Department Store, and then the still standing City Hall was later built in 1931. By then Camden was seen as a place of opportunity.

Even with the nation’s economic depression of the mid 1930’s Camden still had strength in their industrial foundation. The City’s big three manufacturing companies continued to employ many residents: “Campbell Soup (5,600), New York Shipbuilding Corporation (5,522), and RCA Victor (13,030)” (Gillette, 2006). All three companies were able to hold on through the economic hardships of the time and were considered to be a reliable place of employment into the 1950’s. Although life was stable within the City, factors outside of the city were going to change that.

During the 1960’s Camden started to change. With the opening of the Cherry Hill Mall in 1961 city residents were introduced to the possibilities the suburbs offered for family life. Many residents left and moved into the suburbs. Companies were moving their headquarters to suburbia as seen by RCA when they moved to Cherry Hill and Moorestown. Gillette states that, “between 1960 and 1967 industrial employment fell sharply, by 12,000 jobs” (Gillette, 2006). This was a common trend for companies to leave the high costs of the city and move into the under developed suburbia. Employment records of the same period backed this by showing the increase of manufacturing jobs outside of Camden but still within Camden County raising from, “6,184 to 21,316” (Gillette, 2006). Many residents who were able to leave the city did. The years after this migration to suburbia gave light to a different Camden.

Camden never recovered from the creation of the suburbs. The suburbs outside of Camden have taken away the people who come to the city and also the people who have lived in the city. The depression and the loss of the industrial city that we knew as Camden has caused the life and happiness that the city used to bring to be taken away from us. On a positive note, today Camden is working to relieve itself from its poverty stricken state with hopes of bringing new business to its community, as well as new attractions to bring the people here to visit and keep them coming back and the possibility of them not wanting to leave. There are several organizations here in Camden that are helping us as a city to improve the devastation throughout the whole city. We, as citizens of this city, have to want to improve the destruction by helping make the jobs of all the organizations a little easier by having input and putting those words to good use.

Gillette, H. (2006). Camden after the fall. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.

History. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Transportation Development
Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO)
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The Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) is a 14-mile railroad operating between Philadelphia and South Jersey. It was originally formed in 1926 with the construction of the Delaware River Bridge, later renamed the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the creation of the Delaware River Bridge Commission. In 1931 after a reorganization of the DRBC into the Delaware River Joint Commission (DRJC), plans were created to construct a high-speed rail line connecting Philadelphia to Camden. The rail line opened on June 7, 1936, and shortly after community groups pressured for an expansion of the line to connect with other New Jersey suburbs. By 1969 the rail-line we see today was complete. There are a total of 13 stations originating in Lindenwold and moving through Camden, and connecting with Philadelphia subway line into center city. In 2014 PATCO begun a two year track rehabilitation project, replacing the entire track system in both directions on the Ben Franklin Bridge. Work is expected to be completed in 2016. Due to construction and poor weather in 2014 PATCO's ridership has fallen to a six year low of 10,007,256. That is expected to rise once again when renovations are complete.

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NJ Transit River Line
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The New Jersey Transit River Line is a light rail line that services a 34-mile stretch between Camden and townships north to Trenton.
The line was completed in 2004 among criticism of over budget construction costs and low expected ridership. The River line was created in an attempt to riders link to other rail services. Riders can connect with the PATCO in Camden to travel to Philadelphia, and NJ Transit or Amtrak trains in Trenton to travel to New York. The line provides a low cost travel option for residents in Mercer, Burlington, and Camden counties. Average weekly ridership has grown from 6,100 in 2005 to 9,000 in 2013. There is talk of expanding the line further into Trenton to accommodate the government employees, but funding is not currently available to do so.

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Glassboro-Camden Line
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The Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL) is a proposed 18 mile light rail line that will run between Camden and Gloucester counties. The line would run along-side an existing Conrail freight line. The GCL would serve towns including Glassboro, Pitman, Sewell, Mantua, Deptford, Wenonah, Woodbury Heights, Woodbury, Westville, Brooklawn, Gloucester City, and Camden. The Delaware River Port Authority and NJ Transit have funded an $8.1 million environmental study for the feasibility of the project. The Federal Transit Administration however cannot complete the study because the proposed rail line does not have a current owner or operator to commit to build the line. Progress is being made to have NJ Transit take the lead on the project so the environmental can be completed, federal and state funding can be secured, and construction on the line can begin. The Glassboro-Camden line, when completed would connect to PATCO and the River Line at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden, allowing passengers expanded travel options. Ridership is expected to reach as many as 18,000 daily by 2030.

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Recent Camden Policy
New market-rate apartments are being built or renovated to meet the demand of the medical community, a supermarket is opening a store, and city government has begun the demolition of about 600 abandoned houses, in an effort to revitalize unused land spaces and homes.

Economic Opportunity Act: The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) was signed into law in September of 2013, it includes bonuses or priority treatment for applicants located in, or seeking to locate in, any of the following types of “smart-growth” locations municipalities with weak real estate markets, typically described as economically “distressed”. This law has generated criticism for being too generous by entering into tax abatement agreements that allow developers to only pay property taxes on land value for the first 10 years, then phasing in the value of improvements over the next decade. Subaru, 76ers, Cooper, Holt Logistics, Holtec International and Lockheed Martin will reap the benefits of the Economic Opportunity Act.

Promise Neighborhoods: The Promise Neighborhood Initiative, based on Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone model, aims to create a comprehensive pipeline of services and a cradle through college to career path leading to positive change for the children and families. In 2012, Camden Cooper Lanning neighborhood was given $500,000 federal grant to try to duplicate the efforts in Harlem. They focus on a “cradle to career” and believe in a holistic approach to helping children and families. The center also opened a Promise Neighborhood Success Center on Benson Street, where community dinners are hosted and adults can take financial-literacy classes. They intend to bring awareness to the neighborhood, such as healthy eating, education, prenatal care, and teaching families how to budget.

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With the push of redevelopment in Camden, NJ, the waterfront which is located across the Delaware River to Philadelphia, has been a major focus. The waterfront brings people from all over South Jersey and surrounding areas to Camden with attractions like the Adventure Aquarium, the Camden Riversharks minor league baseball team, and the Susquehanna Bank Center. In addition to the already existing attractions that the Camden Waterfront has to offer, Cooper's Ferry Partnership is leading the development of a large office building. This building will house not only Cooper’s Ferry Partnership but other tenants. This building is planned to have a restaurant on the first floor with outdoor dining which is intended to attract residents and tourists alike.

Cooper’s Ferry Development Association (CFDA) has also planned to build a hotel, which is not yet completed but in the works. This hotel will bring more revenue into the city because when people attend sporting or entertainment events and do not want to go home, they will have the option of staying in a hotel. Other projects that CFDA is working on includes but is not limited to: Waterfront Park and Marina, which is a project that is on-going and Cooper’s Crossing. Cooper’s crossing is planned to be a multi-purpose space. It is intended to have residential housing, a commercial office, retail and dining space as well as a conference hotel.

There is also a developer, Waterfront Renaissance Associates (WRA), hoping to build a World Trade Center on the former prison site on Camden’s Waterfront. WRA has said the site will be designed to combine a center for global trading, which is called an “Innovation District”.

“ "The preliminary project design includes 2.3 million square feet of space, consisting of four stand-alone phases which is planned to be built in accordance with a design and marketing plan to create sub-campuses which create a feel of small commercial neighborhoods," the firm said in a statement. Potential tenants include companies involved in international trade and private sector technology development, and university business schools with programs in international trade strategies and product development, WRA said. Space also will be set aside for neighborhood retail. (Camden waterfront, 2013)”

With the city being an Urban Enterprise Zone, where tax incentives for businesses and consumers is a possibility, coupled with the development of these projects, more people will be able to take advantage of the city nightlife with more reasonable pricing which is always attractive.

These up and coming developments will bring more revenue into the city as well as create many jobs for residents and people in the surrounding suburbs. There will be an increase to the city’s tax base which any fully functioning city requires. The development of new businesses can breathe new life into the city and restore it to a booming location once again.

Projects: Central waterfront. (n.d.). Retrieved from waterfront

Camden waterfront eyed for world trade center. (2013, SEPTEMBER 09). Retrieved from

Urban enterprise zone. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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The City of Camden has many strategies to display economic growth. More specifically these initiatives are involving people. Tourist, commuters, students, working people, and overall professionals; whether they are any of the listed, where and when does Camden involve the businesses? With attention to prior mentioning, initiatives like the expanding the train from Glassboro NJ to the Camden City and the expansion and embellishing of the Camden Waterfront for both residential and entertainment/recreational purposes all generally revolve around bring people into the city and giving them something to do and admire. However, how do we get the people of the city working again?

The Economic Recovery Board for Camden has developed (1) few incentives to encourage business to bring their businesses in the city:
  • The 5-4-3-2-1 Business Lease Incentive is a incentive that promotes that fifteen million dollars in grant funds is available to businesses that plan to occupy five hundred square feet or more of market rate office, industrial, and retail space.
  • Camden Technology Fund is another incentive that is geared to assist emerging technology companies. The initiative will provide low interest loans up to one hundred thousand dollars for startups. (2)

Looking into what it takes to start a business the incentives the Economic Recovery Board is offering is beneficial to any business shopping to either get cheap real estate or any startup that needs extra assistance. But why are businesses not showing even an interest in bait the City of Camden is blatantly casting out there in the Delaware River. Aren’t there any big fish out there across and or down the river tat are interested? Has Camden & The Economic Board for Camden taken the wrong approach? Should Camden & The Economic Board for Camden offer more incentives for businesses that offer jobs to the residents that live there? I find that the City of Camden has to identify their target market/audience then accommodate to the needs of that industry.

Opportunities to grow your business in camden . (n.d.). Retrieved from

What is a startup?. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Camden, like other former industrial cities of America, has experienced urban decay and an overall downturn of the city. However, over the last few years, there has been a resurgence for building the city back up and returning the city to a booming economy.

The health sector has become a main business involved in the redevelopment of the city. Cooper University Hospital began an expansion project that has not yet been completed, but with the investments have brought a large number of jobs to Camden as well as educational opportunities. Cooper University Hospital along with Virtua and Lourdes Heath System all provide Employer-Assisted Housing Programs for employees of their companies. These programs provide assistance for those who work for these companies and are looking to purchase a home in the area. Assistance is granted to eligible employees with grants/aid towards down payments and closing costs. In addition to Employer-Assisted Housing Programs provided by some companies, the City of Camden has a first-time homebuyer program.

Neighborhood stabilization program 2 (nsp2). (n.d.). Retrieved from

In addition to the expansion of the health sector in the city of Camden, institutions of higher education like Rutgers University, Rowan University, and Camden County College have had an economic impact on the city, not only by bringing students and educators in the city but also because of their presence. New businesses are opening up around the area to cater to the higher education students and it is creating an increase in revenue for the city.

Other forms of development are the influx of charter schools in the city. This has been a big topic of discussion for community members because the state will begin taking over the city’s schools. While charter schools will provide other learning environments for the children of Camden, many community members believe it will create a divide in education.

Economic Development In Camden

The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 provides incentives such as tax breaks and lower job-creation requirements, for businesses to establish themselves in New Jersey. It is broken up into two parts, Grow NJ and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program. Grow NJ focuses mainly on the job creation and retention aspect, while the ERG focuses on incentives. The idea is to keep New Jersey competitive with Philadelphia and New York who offer incentives. A popular criticism of the law is that is too easy on businesses, giving them too large of tax breaks.

NJ Economic Opportunity Act 2013

EDA Now Accepting Applications for Incentive Programs Expanded Under the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from

Nurin, T. (2013, March 13). Early Returns: Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 Off to Solid Start. NJSpotlight. Retrieved from

Recent Initiatives (updated as of April 13th, 2015) by Rutgers Student, D'Licia Walton

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Cooper's Ferry Development Association (CFDA) was founded in 1984 as a private, nonprofit company designed and dedicated to planning and implementing high-quality urban redevelopment projects. It aims to help with replenishment of depleted taxes and to create jobs for the residents of Camden. CFDA also works to fulfill its mission by solely focusing on redeveloping Camden's downtown waterfront. It is the overall planner, promoter and master developer. From private and public investments, CFDA has has attracted and coordinated more than $600 million.

In 2001, CFDA partnered with GCP- Greater Camden Partnership to work together in promoting the revitalization of the City of Camden. CFDA bought together leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors to help with efforts of the revitalization progression. Soon after GCP created the Downtown Camden Strategic Development Plan, which established the blueprint for development in Camden. Since then, GCP has continued to implement strategies through a five part, targeted model:
  1. Cleans Safe Streets
  2. Vibrant Commercial Corridors
  3. Stable neighborhoods
  4. Vibrant arts and culture
  5. Human capital programming
These five models will work to build capacity of Camden's Residents.

GCP project portfolio had included the establishment of a downtown business improvement district that is "Clean and Safe" program, public art space programs, corridor marketing/retail attraction, and local sourcing initiatives. In 2011, CFDA and GCP united as one organization that is working ongoing projects and continue to establish public and private partnerships to effect sustainable economic revitalization and Camden is a place to live, work, visit, and invest. Thus, creating CFDA new name, CFP-Cooper's Ferry Partnership.

Camden has a unique support system and infrastructure that allows for potential economic growth and potential to make Camden an ideal location for living, working, and investing. Currently, The economic Recovery Board -ERB, which has provided a comprehensive strategy of redevelopment for the city. Over $60 million in project financing through ERB's $175 million allocation has been approved for over 21 projects in Camden. More than 1,750 new homes are under development and planning for more than $7,000 new homes in the near future

Previously updated Initiatives
Many of the current policies that affect the economic atmosphere in Camden, come at a price to the state, benefiting significantly from state aid. This comes after the state has taken over responsibility for the oversight of Camden, including its schools and police department. Some of the projects that are currently occurring in Camden are:

  • EDA (Economic Development Authority) has begun awarding large, South Jersey based companies with sizable tax credits or subsidies to be paid out over a period of 10 years to each company. The two main conditions for these companies are that they build/relocate with at least $50 million, into Camden NJ and stay there for at least 15 years, and that these companies create at least 250 new jobs (each) for the city of Camden. By December of 2014 a total of $1.84 billion in tax subsidies had been offered to companies who complied with these rules.
    • Tax subsidies are payments from the government or state that are paid to companies, students or people for many different reasons.

  • Two-hundred-sixty million dollars in state aid in being given to Holtec International, an Evesham-based energy firm for the creation of a factory in Camden's port district. The factory is supposed to create 400 jobs in the city. It also will serve as a training facility for unemployed Camden residents and veterans. Furthermore, Holt Logistics will partner in construction of a marine terminal, on Paulsboro’s waterfront. It is expected that 850 permanent jobs will be available as a result of this project. Together both projects are expected to create thousands of construction jobs.

  • In recent years Cooper Plaza has been of particular interest for the city of Camden. Not only do the hospital and medical school create jobs, but now it is reforming a whole neighborhood with a new $8.8 million housing development. M&M Development has already constructed 24 homes and plans on building six more, on Berkley Street between 6th Street and Broadway. Five of these homes will be constructed in the place of abandoned, boarded-up houses. The idea is to not only create new attractive homes for those already in Camden, but to bring in new homeowners. The new neighborhood is also bringing in new schools. The KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy Camden network includes five schools: two elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school. It will serve more than 2,800 students. The schools are designed to service those in the Cooper Plaza area. The first school will open this August.

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  • The EDA has approved financing for housing project for Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. The 59-unit complex will service medical students and staff. The complex will be on Broadway between Benson and Berkley streets. I will cost a total of $13.8 million. Broadway Housing Partners LLC has been approved for $6.2 million in tax credits for the project. It is expected to be completed by 2015.

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  • Grown NJ has been approved to give more than $98 million to eight different NJ projects, by the EDA. The Camden-based company Plastics Consulting and Manufacturing Company Inc., is one of the recipients of grant. Their facilities were damaged by a fire earlier this year, which led to the consideration of moving out of Camden. They received approval for a 10-year, $3.9 million Grow NJ award to reconstruct its current manufacturing facility and remain in Camden. The grant saves 20 jobs and also creates another eight positions. The end result is an economic net benefit to the state of $3.8 million over the next 35 years.

  • The New Jersey EDA has approved an $82 million grant, paid out over 10 years, for the Philadelphia 76ers to build a practice and training facility on the Camden Waterfront. This grant is contingent on the center creating a minimum of 250 for the people of Camden. Groundbreaking for the 120,000-square-foot structure will occur is October.

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  • NJ EDA approves of $118 million tax incentive for Subaru of America move to its headquarters from Cherry Hill to Camden next to the Campbell's Soup headquarters by 2016. Subaru pledged to bring in create around 100 new jobs over the next two to three years as well as relocate current jobs.

  • NJ EDA approves $170 million tax break for defense contractor Lockheed Martin to re-establish 250 jobs from other parts of the state, to new buildings in Camden. State wide, Lockheed Martin employs nearly 4,500 employees and must continue to do so in order to receive all of the tax credits.

    • $250,000 will be gained from this move to Camden by Lockheed Martin over the next 35 years. That's roughly about $7,150 a year.

Laday, J. (2014, September 7). Camden Housing Development Attracting New Neighbors. South Jersey Times. Retrieved from

KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy at Lanning Square. Retrieved from

Walsh, J. (2014, July 14). Jobs Coming to Port in Camden, Paulsboro. The Courier Post. Retrieved from

George, A. (2014, September 11). EDA Approves More Than $98 Million in Incentives for 8 Projects. NJBIZ. Retrieved from$98-million-in-incentives-for-8-projects

$82M Grant Approved for 76ers Facility in Camden. (2014, June 10). The Courier Post. Retrieved from

Steele, A. (2014, December 11). Cooper, Subaru get tax deals for moving to Camden. Philly News. Retrieved from

Laday, J. (2014, November 10). New Jersey EDA awards 10-year, $107 million tex break to Lockheed Martin to open facilities in Camden. Retrieved from


A popular critique of redevelopment projects in Camden, such as those on the waterfront, is that they do not benefit the community, but outsiders. Cooper Plaza, for example, features its own restaurants, stores, and schools. It leaves little reason for residents to leave and explore the rest of the city. It also provides no housing for residents already in Camden, but for outsiders to come in. It it its own pocket community separate from the rest of the city. Another critique is that the jobs that are created for Camden residents by hospitals and sporting complexes, are maintenance and janitorial jobs, which are low paying. All the jobs that require a skill set are given to people living outside of the community, who do not spend their money in the community. There are also question on whether giving tax breaks to these companies it helpful to the community, because they are not benefiting from the tax money.

Howard Gillette poses these two questions, regarding recent economic development in Camden, for consideration: “What are the immediate and long-range effects of such development? And how can such efforts prove sustainable in the effort to return our cities to the magnets for building wealth they have been historically?”

NJPP (NJ Policy Perspective) warns that if these companies decide to leave the area after they're obligated timeline, the citizens will be forced to pick up the lost tax revenue.

According to Gordon MaccInens, "Awarding profitable corporations billions of dollars mostly to shift jobs around New Jersey is not a job-creation strategy New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal-leaning think referring to the tactic as a "feel good gimmick."

Gillette, H. (2014, September 22). How Will Historians Judge Today's Revitalization Efforts? NewsWorks. Retrieved from

Walsh, J. (2014, July 21). Critics question benefits of 76ers, Holtec projects in Camden. The Courier Post. Retrieved from

Blumgart, J. (2014, September 4). For New Jersey city, tax-free development comes at a cost.Aljazeera America. Retrieved from

Recent Initiative ( Updated as of April 16th by Rutgers Student Philip Cerria)

The Cooper Grant association has been given approval to construct with the warehouse located at 300 North Delaware Avenue in Camden New Jersey. The warehouse was built in the 19th century and has been used as a warehouse by the Ruby Match Factory (1891-1903) and Campbell's Soup since 1906. On January 9th 2015 the Cooper Grant neighborhood association received approval for their redevelopment proposal for this historic building. Their plan is to change the building use from Storage Group S to Business Group B, which is office space. They will add two floors to allow for more retail space. In addition there will be a small addition built using a soundproof structure to house HVAC equipment and a new backup generator. There will also be a green garden space built along the northeast side of the building. Finally gutters and downspouts will be created to drain rainwater to the underground storm water system as well as obscure glass windows for the privacy of Point Street Residents.

Another development project is the Waterfront Technology Center at Camden located on 200 Federal Street. It is intended to accommodate businesses in high-tech field like bioscience, microelectronics and information technology. It will be a 100,000 square foot five story building constructed of glass and metal with space for necessary labs and offices.




The City of Philadelphia was developed by William Penn in 1682. Penn, a Quaker and a real estate entrepreneur, also was responsible for founding what is now the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Admiral Penn, William's father, lent King Charles' government money. When the time came to repay the loan, the king had no money and no credit. As a result, his government could not repay the debt. Penn had a desire to establish a colony in America and head a Quaker community so in lieu of repayment, he requested from the King land that was located near Maryland and Delaware.

There were Native Americans present, although they were not part of the development as well as settlements that developed. These settlements transitioned into separated governments and towns within the city but were still considered Philadelphia. In the early years of the city, there were other settlers that broke away from the city and became lower Delaware (Dutch, Swedish, and English). In the 17th century, more settlers arrived and founded a colony, New Sweden, which is now southern New Jersey. The arrival of settlers to this area made the city an important hub and colonial city in the region. From 1790 – 1800, Philadelphia became the temporary capital to the United States. On February 2, 1854, a measure was adopted to consolidate the city and separate districts. Philadelphia was then divided into 24 wards (Scharf & Westcott, 1884).

On July 16, 1790, Congress passed a law that permitted George Washington to select the location of the Nation’s capital. He chose the area that is now Washington, DC and in the beginning of the 19th century, the federal government left Philadelphia as well.

Philadelphia was the country’s largest city and was a port city that was booming and full of activity. However, the good times did not last forever because the Embargo Act of 1807 and war were contributors to the decline in the shipping business. As a result of the inability to obtain goods that people were accustomed to, local factories were developed to accommodate the needs of the people and creating goods that the city was no longer able to import. Philadelphia experienced population growth in the late 1800's and with it came immigrants and Americans from other parts of the country who were looking for better economic opportunities.

Philadelphia has continued to flourish from the 19th century through the 21st century. As the fifth largest city in the US, in terms of population, Philadelphia has faced issues that many urban cities do, like urban decay in some areas as well as crime. However, is the late 1990s to the present there has been various efforts of revitalization across the cityt. There have been efforts to develop new housing (condos), bring in new businesses, and other projects have been introduced to the city to encourage growth.

Scharf, J. T., & Westcott, T. (1884). History of philadelphia, 1609-1884. (Vol. 1, pp. 77-100). L.H. Everts & Co.
A brief history of philadelphia. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The historical society of washington, d.c : Get to know d.c.. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Recent Policy

On January 17, 2013 Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia signed the “Land Bank” bill allowing for the creation of a Land Bank Committee that would be in control of acquiring, holding, and disposing of vacant property ("Land bank bill," 2013). This bill was aimed to assist in the revitalization of the City by selling properties for lowered market value prices to organizations or individuals who propose a project that demonstrates a beneficial community impact. Forms of community impact include, affordable or mixed-income housing, economic development that creates jobs for community residents, community facilities that provide needed services and enrichment opportunities, side and rear yards, urban agriculture, and community open space ("Bill no. 120052," 2012). These projects would all contribute to Philadelphia’s tax-income-base which will add to the revitalization of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, like many urban cities, faces issues concerning blight. The abundance of vacant and dilapidated properties has contributed to the decrease of market value resale prices of the remaining occupied properties. Neighborhood groups such as the Garden Justice Legal team gathered community residents to rally in support of the “Land Bank” bill. This bill is aimed at helping give communities control of their environment by heavily emphasizing the importance of community involvement prior to implementation of any proposed project ("Bill no. 120052," 2012).

This policy is expected to impact many neighborhoods. A project of the Garden Justice Legal Initiative called Grounded in Philly calculated that there are over, “30,000 vacant lots in Philadelphia” (Public Interest Law Center, 2013). Vacant properties can be found in nearly every neighborhood within Philadelphia. With the passing of the Land Bank bill, neighborhoods have the chance to transform these unsafe eye-sores of vacant land properties into environmentally friendly community gathering areas or consent for new development by tax-paying owners.

The Philadelphia Land Bank is seeking proposals from Independent Public Accountants (IPA) to provide professional services necessary to conduct a financial audit for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The Green

City of Philadelphia, City Council. (2012). Bill no. 120052(Bill No. 120052). Philadelphia, PA:

Land bank bill to tackle blight in pa.. (2013, January 17). Retrieved from

Public Interest Law Center. (2013). Grounded in Philly. Retrieved from

"Plbank." Plbank. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2015. Retrieved from

external image Ritz-to-JFK-New-Plaza_V2_smaller-680uw.jpg

Mayor Nutter continues to address the need for Philadelphia being a cleaner city in 2008 at the inaugural. Furthermore, Mayor Nutter created the Mayor's Office of Sustainability. MOS (Mayor Office of Sustainability) servers as an independent source to the city directly. Since developing this organization in 2008 they have identified the plan and execution of altering the city in a cleaner greener way, this is later referred to as the Greenworks Philadelphia the “commitment to make this the greenest city in America”.
To view the Greenworks Philaelphia 2009 plan and outline view here:
(Top right, first link under the About MOS tab)

The plan outlines itself into five categories; energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement. Throughout the formal plan outline you can find project and initiatives Philadelphia has plan for the upcoming years. One initiative that has particularly intrigued audiences is the energy initiatives. The movement to direct Philadelphia in the energy market, is a step into the right direction to make Philadelphia a cleaner and refined city of the future. Most of the goal in the energy initiative is directed to invest heavily in “increasing energy-efficiency and cultivating renewable-energy sources”. This has solely contributed to Philadelphia’s efforts. Many of the other categories of the Greenworks Philadelphia 2009 outline stem from the idea of cultivating new energy for the city. For example, in the economy segment readers learn a lot about improving public transportation and extending bike routes throughout the city. The Engagement section notes the introduction of new technologies to youth, allowing them to have the foundation of an idea to expand on.

In 2013 Greenworks Philadelphia releases the fourth annual progress report.
To view the Greenworks Philadelphia 2013 progress report view here:
(Top right, second link under the About MOS tab)
Throughout the progress report it announces the accomplishments of Greenworks Philadelphia, some of which are as followed:

  • 95% completion of 166 initiatives
  • The Bourse is the oldest building in Philadelphia with solar power, generating 500 kWh of electricity each year.
  • Vertical axis wind turbines at Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Since 2008, more than 9,000 Philadelphia homes have been weatherized.
  • Solar panels cover the south facade of Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Waste Watchers volunteers managing bins donated by SCA Americas at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon.
  • Bike commuters uses one of the newly installed bike corrals in Center City.
  • New Julian Abele Park in South Philadelphia.
  • Teens 4 Good youth, who learn farming and entrepreneurial skills
  • GlaxoSmithKline’s LEED certified facility is an example of green technology

"Phila.Gov | Office of Sustainability :: Solar City Partnership." Phila.Gov | Office of Sustainability :: Solar City Partnership. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

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On July 4th 2004 in the middle of the night Pennsylvania passed Act 71 with no public debate. The act made casinos legal and created the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). The act also created 14 licenses for new casinos to be built in the state, 2 of which went to the city of Philadelphia. New Jersey and Nevada were the only states that legalized gambling in the 1980s, but by 2007 37 states had legalized some form of gambling, resulting in a spike of revenue from $16 billion to $30.29 billion according to the American Gaming Association (Calvano & Andersson, 2010).

The chairman of the PGCB claims in the 2012-2013 annual report that the state had a return of $1.5 billion which helped reduce property tax for the past six years, as well as wage taxes. He also states that the casinos provided jobs to more than 16,000 person, and made hundreds of millions of dollars in purchases of goods and services from other businesses in the state. ("Pennsylvania gaming control," 2013)

The PGCB awarded one of the license to the Sugar House casino in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. They are currently looking at five proposals for another casino in the city. Three of them in south Philadelphia, one in north Philadelphia, and one in market east. In February 2014 revenue for the Sugar House casino is down 9.5 percent, and overall the state casino revenue is down 7.5 percent. Sugar House casino argues that there are not enough gamers to support another casino in the city. (Wood, 2014) In December of 2013 the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee started studying whether or not the new casino will be viable, and they are due to report on May 1st 2014. (Brubaker, 2014)

During the later months of 2014, critics argued that Philadelphia could not withstand another casino, but on the contrary there were still people who favored with Philadelphia having a second casino license. The second casino license was set to be issued to one out of the four casinos that applied years prior to the licence being publicly announced; the casino that was supposed to get awarded the second licence was Live! Hotel and Casino which was owned by Stadium Casino.

(2013). Pennsylvania gaming control board annual report. Retrieved from Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Annual Report website:

Brubaker, H. (2014, February 28). Casino bidders make final arguments before gaming board. Retrieved from

Calvano, L., & Andersson, L. (2010, September 3). Hitting the jackpot (or not): an attempt to extract value in philadelphia's casino controversy. Retrieved from html

Wood, S. (2014, March 5). Pa slots revenues continue decline. Retrieved from

Hilario, Fran. "Blatstein Withdraws Appeal of Second Casino License - Philadelphia Business Journal." Widgets RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2015. <>.


Philadelphia’s new Land Bank stirs controversy in its projected effectiveness. Land Banks have seen mixed results when put into place in other blighted local governments such as St. Louis Missouri, Macon Georgia, and Cleveland Ohio. Those in favor of the Land Bank argued that Philadelphia’s Land Bank is intended to make the purchasing of vacant lots easier. Property owners in Philadelphia that have not been paying taxes for a pre-determined period of time will have their property added to the Land Bank’s inventory along with the 10,000 publicly-owned abandoned properties (Arrivello, 2014). Potential buyers will be able to more easily purchase the vacant property from the Land Bank which eliminates the trouble of locating the owners of the long-neglected property.

Those opposed to the Lank Bank have fears concerning the process of selling these vacant lots. Concerns have been voiced regarding City Council’s control in determining a sale of property (Arrivello, 2014). If City Council is required to review and accept every property that is being purchased through the Land Bank then the process for purchasing these vacant lots could be extremely sluggish. Never the less, the Land Bank has caused a reported excitement from both for-profit and non-profit developers (Hurdle, 2013). The Land Bank system has been designed to refrain from selling any property to a speculator. The goal of this bill is to allow for vacant lots to be developed on or to be community maintained, not for the purpose of reselling the vacant for profit lot once the surrounding community has had a chance to revitalize (Hurdle, 2013).

But there are other fears regarding this bill. The control of the Land Bank by the Philadelphia government frightens many community activists because of its past involvement in political corruption (LoBasso, 2012). Arguments further state that Land Banks may have worked in other local governments, but it is not necessary for Philadelphia’s revitalization process. Some believe that the implementation of the Land Bank will allow for the further practice of pay-to-play which is believed to have negative effects on the City (LoBasso, 2012).

Arrivello, S. (2014, January 03). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Hurdle, J. (2013, December 31). Philadelphia forges plan to rebuild from decay. The New York Times. Retrieved from

LoBasso, R. (2012, March 06). Activists wary of city’s land bank legislation [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

external image Greenworks.jpg

Solid research has proven to serve on the side of Mayor Nutter. In a publish blog writers are in favor particular initiatives that have come from the program. Specifically, there isn’t much to argue for The City of Philadelphia has already attracted significant national attention for its sustainability efforts, winning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2010 Sustainable Community Award and being awarded a competitive $25 million Recovery Act Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, one of only 25 recipients across the country to receive such funding.

Another article again highlights the city’s efforts saying “Philadelphia's emergence as a sustainability leader began with the election of Mayor Michael A. Nutter in 2008. During his campaign, Nutter pledged to make Philadelphia the "Greenest City in America," and he followed through with his commitment by creating the city’s first Office of Sustainability and releasing Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s first sustainability plan, during his first year in office.” Ideally the initiatives seem to be working and should be invested in more.

"Philadelphia Greenworks Presents Wellness Walks." N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

"Greenworks Philadelphia." Greenworks Philadelphia. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

Actman, Laurie. "How Philadelphia Is Leading in Energy Innovation." N.p., 27 Feb. 2013. Web.

There is much debate as to whether or not casinos are beneficial for a community, and there are many variables that play into that debate. If the casinos revenue is coming from local residents than the revenue only reflects a redistribution of money within the local economy. However, If the casinos are bringing in tourists than it reflects a stimulation in the local economy. (Eadington, 1998)
Many argue that the social ill outweigh any good done for the state with the taxed revenue they contribute. While casinos are making big money for the gaming industry and the state government, and in return the community members are offered low wage jobs. Casinos have also been shown to negatively affect the poorer populations because of problem gambling (Calvano & Andersson, 2010). A family member can easily gamble away large savings accounts, or even a welfare check. There seem to be many situations where casinos and gambling have had a negative impact on the host cities from things like increased crime and driving while intoxicated (DWI) to suicide.
Without a new casino in Philadelphia people would be spending money on other activities and services that they would be spending on gaming. This influences the local economy immensely because the businesses outside of these casino contribute more to the local economy than casinos do and are forced to compete with each other. (Eadington, 2003)

Eadington, W. (1998, March). Contributions of casino-style gambling to local economies. Retrieved from html

Eadington, W. (2003). Measuring costs from permitted gaming: Concepts and categories in evaluating gambling’s consequences. Retrieved from

Other Cities

Recent Policy

The city of Baltimore, Maryland, under the Rawlings-Blake administration, proposes a plan of large property tax breaks for industrial properties located in Southeast Baltimore (Sherman & Broadwater, 2014). The goal of this proposal is to increase economic development on industrial sites that have been long underutilized as well as to contribute to Baltimore’s growing economic base. Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore’s mayor, and her administration intend to define a new “focus area” which will be the targeted zone for additional available tax credits.

The state of Maryland is home to 30 Enterprise Zones, totaling approximately 14,000 acres. An Enterprise Zone is a designated space, oftentimes in an impoverished area, where the state would like more investment and economic growth to occur ("Maryland legislators seek,"). Businesses that are located within Enterprise Zones are eligible for tax credits. Tax credits are available under many circumstances, such as hiring “economically disadvantaged employees” ("Maryland legislators seek,”). The focus area located in Southeast Baltimore is already a part of Maryland’s Enterprise Zone which makes it eligible for a tax credit, which would be phased out over ten years starting with an 80% tax credit during the first five years to a 30% tax credit in the final year.

The city of Baltimore already has a potential tenant for the available space in Southeast Baltimore: Amazon’s. new warehouse located in Southeast Baltimore will receive more than $43 million in tax credits which helped incentivize the company to locate their warehouse in Southeast Baltimore on a 65-acre site (Broadwater & , 2013).

Broadwater, L., & , (2013, October 23). Amazon. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from,0,340324.story

Maryland legislators seek bigger tax breaks for industrial sites. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Sherman , N., & Broadwater, L. (2014, February 27).Bigger tax breaks sought for industrial sites
in Southeast Baltimore. Retrieved from

Bar Crawl: Hop Through the Atlas District
Bar Crawl: Hop Through the Atlas District

The H Street (NE) neighborhood, of Washington D.C. was one of the first commercial districts in the city. The first Sears and Roebuck to the city, called this neighborhood home. In 1968, like other downtown neighborhoods across the country, H Street was impacted by the riots after Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. The neighborhood was never able to recover from the damages of the riots and some residents left and some business owners never rebuilt, they left as well. In the 1980s, the city was greatly affected with what has been called the crack epidemic, and the neighborhood was further forgotten.

In 2004, the Office of Planning completed the H Street NE Strategic Development Plan to over the next ten years guide community, private sector and public agency actions and investments in revitalizing the traditional neighborhood. The then Mayor, Anthony Williams, announced this plan to build in office buildings, residential units, retail, arts, entertainment venues, and a streetcar line (Flock).

The idea for the revitalization of this neighborhood as well as other dilapidated corridors in the city came from the success of U Street. Businesses were able to come into the area and purchase property for low costs. As a result, more people came experienced the neighborhood. They went to nightclubs, various restaurants, retail shops, and after more residential opportunities were made available, they moved to the area.

In the case of the H Street neighborhood, the city of Washington D.C. provided various incentives to businesses that chose to open businesses, move their business and/or create another location. These incentives may not have been available to all business owners however they were able to help many that moved to the area. The incentives are: Enterprise Zone, High Technology Development Zone, HUB Zone, Industrial Revenue Bond, Supermarket Tax Credit Zone, and H Street NE Priority Area.

With the success of the various businesses that the revitalization has brought the neighborhood, the city has also brought back an updated version of the street cars that stopped running in 1949. Presently, buses will be running along with the street cars however, that may change in the future. The street cars are intended to complement the Metro system. It is also expected to encourage more economic development across the city and become a powerful attraction.

DC Business Incentives Map. (n.d.). DC Business Incentives Map. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from

Flock, E. (2011, January 1). H Street corridor: A work in progress. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from

H Street Corridor Revitalization Main Page. (n.d.). The District of Columbia. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from

Meyer, E. L. (2014, April 15). Washington Retail District’s Future Rides on Streetcars. The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2014

Baltimore received a $200,000 grant from ArtPlace America to fund a project that would infuse art and culture into three of its transit stations: Penn station in station north, the Howard street light rail line, and the bus stops in Highlandtown. This will give the transit stations a sense of identity and vibrancy that reflect the cultures surrounding the areas. ArtPlace America is an organization that works with communities, local artists, other foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions to make creative place making a possibility through grants they award for creative place making. In the Baltimore Transit project European artists from the European Union National Institute of Culture will work with local artists, city planners, and transportation officials. Creative place making is a powerful tool that can give a greater identity to any community that sees the need for it.

Small Investments in the arts can go a long way. In a three year study by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight foundation the question of “what makes a community a desirable place to live? Institutions that provide the basic necessities like employment, education, and housing are important. However, the study concluded that how welcoming the area is and its aesthetics influence community members to form a deeper emotional bond with the communities they call home.

"Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts: Transit." ArtPlace America. N.p., 1 Sept. 2013.

Watson, Craig. "How the Arts and Cultural Tourism Spur Economic Development." - Western City. Western City, 1 May 2013, from


Baltimore, Maryland’s decision to grant additional tax credits in a “focus area”, located in Southeast Baltimore, has lead to high expectations. has already announced their new warehouse will be built within Baltimore’s “focus area”. The company has received millions of dollars in tax credits for locating their warehouse in an Enterprise Zone. claims that they plan to hire locally for packing and shipping jobs. The new warehouse is estimated to employ 1,000 people in the beginning, but is able to grow to a capacity of 2,600 employees. Rawlings-Bake stated that Amazon’s employees will receive “full benefits” and that the city and state are working together to provide busing to the site for local employees (Broadwater &, 2013).

Baltimore residents have the opportunity to benefit from Amazon’s opening of a new warehouse, as do many Amazon customers in the area. Amazon’s opening of their new warehouse offers the opportunity for same-day shipping for many nearby customers, a fact which was very important to Amazon when deciding where to locate their next new warehouse (Litten, 2014).
Maryland has been negotiating this deal with for more than a year. Now with the deal almost completed Dominick Murray, Maryland’s secretary for economic development, was reported saying, “When we got the word they [Amazon] were investigating coming out here [Baltimore], we were all over it. The shippers are happy. The workers are happy. The port’s happy. Everybody’s happy” (Broadwater &, 2013). It is believed that the opening of the warehouse in Southeast Baltimore will be the start of more development in the city of Baltimore.

Broadwater, L., & , (2013, October 23). Amazon. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from,0,340324.story

Litten, K. (2014, April 09). Amazon a likely tenant for enormous warehouse at former gm site.
Retrieved from


While there has been positive feedback to the redevelopment of the H Street corridor, there has also some concerns, many of which come with revitalization in urban centers. In the case of the H Street (NE) corridor, gentrification, of this long time majority black neighborhood was thought to be something that would change the face of the neighborhood.

"...these successes hold a cautionary tale: Urban renewal can push out the low- and middle-income people and loyal institutions that stayed through thick and thin. One important goal must be to ensure that there is a place for everyone when a neighborhood turns an economic corner" (Newsome).

In addition to being pushed out of the area, there is a concern that with the gentrification of this neighborhood, businesses that have remained will be taxed out and the people will be pushed out will the increase of taxes as well. However, while the gentrification of the neighborhood is a concern, some long time residents feel that the area is safer with the increase of the newcomers. In addition, the influx of the newcomers does not appear to be pushing the long time residents out from their home but instead it is a benefit because the values of their homes and credit scores are going up.

Newsome, O., & Rubinger, M. (2013, March 22).The seeds of the H Street ‘miracle’. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from

Sullivan, L. (2014, January 22). Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents : NPR. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from


2014 Class Task Force

With the research we have completed this semester, we have determined that when developing and redeveloping in urban centers, it is imperative to keep the people of these areas in the loop. Citizens are becoming more educated about their local government and they want their needs met and voices heard. With Camden, much like other US cities, there is redtape that must be passed and deals made for solid plans to come to fruition. Those roadblocks in Camden can further deter the resurgence of the city. With that being said, our redevelopement team felt that the best projects to implement at this time would be "shovel-ready" projects that can encourage and foster the relationship between metropolitan communities and create a sense of pride for the city's inhabitants.

The best development efforts that could accomplish these goals for the city, would be art based projects. Art is a medium where people can creatively express themselves as well as promotes a society based on meritocracy.

With the expected improvements to the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden, art should be infused in these developements. We believe it would bring great pride to the City of Camden if local artists have the ability to creat and display their art in such a central location to the city. It is a simply way to beautify the city.The city can apply for grants that may be available from various foundations like other programs across the country, for example the Mural Arts Programs in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and in Washington, D.C.

Another initiative the Development Task Force would like to see is the rehabilitation of abandoned homes across the city. After speaking with some community members, it was mentioned that there were organizations that had a presence in the community that has faded in the last couple of years. With an art focus, we think it would be inspiring to community members to take a community project like Project Row Houses, in Houston, TX, and bring it to Camden or create a program in its liking. The organization took abandoned homes in Third Ward Houston, TX and rehabilitated them. This community wanted to preserve the history of the neighborhood and did not want all of the row houses to be purchased by developers. The rehabilitated homes were turned into museums and the art exhibits,where local artists were feautured, would alternate like any other exhibit.

"Since our inception, PRH’s campus has grown from the original block and a half to six blocks, and from 22 houses to 40 properties; including twelve artist exhibition and/or residency spaces, seven houses for young mothers, artist residencies, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, low-income residential and commercial spaces (Project Row Houses)".

Not only would an organization like Project Row Houses reduce the urban decay across the city, but this project would help to retain the sense of community. It will nurture community members that need assistance with getting on their feet and preserve the culture of the city.

The City of Camden will return to its golden days however, the resurgence should incorporate the people of the city. Their involvement will facilitate the transition that the state and city alike hope for Camden. The process that the city takes will dictate the future.


Baltimore Arts: Baltimore Mural Program.

City of Phildelphia: Mural Arts Program.

Mural Arts DC.

Nussbaum, P. (2014, March 20). NJ Transit studies improvements to Walter Rand center. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from

Project Row Houses.