You’ll want to live in Philly in 2032 – if we play our cards right

Center City skyline at night
With smart investments in education and urban amenities and a focus on creating job opportunities, it could well be "always sunny in Philadelphia" 20 years hence.

When Gov. Ed Rendell launched a contest back in 2003 to pick a new tourism slogan for Pennsylvania, your blogger submitted the following entry:

“Experience Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today.”

We are pleased to report that this statement no longer applies to the southeastern part of the state. This city, where the past is ever present, has its mind very much on its future – and if the experts are any guide, that future looks brighter than we all may think it does.

List-making is a favorite pastime of magazine writers and editors, it seems, and of late, Philadelphia has been showing well on a bunch of them. One such list, which appears in Business Insider, ranks the 10 biggest U.S. metropolitan areas based on their score on Measure of America’s American Human Development Index. The top-ranked cities on this list are all in the Northeast save #5 Chicago, and Philly shows very well, coming in fourth.

This suggests we have a strong foundation on which to build a better future for the region, but as the authors of the BI essay note, that future is not assured unless cities prepare themselves for some big demographic shifts. These include the graying and browning of the population and the need to attract creative young people. As the authors write:

Innovators of the future, if they are anything like innovators of today, will not want to live in a city that resembles a suburban golf club—a city stripped of texture, variety, and hidden gems.

The keys to the future include education, amenities and a dynamic business climate. We’re concerned about all of these here, and we will continue to report on these issues, for they all directly affect the health of the city, the region, and the local real estate market.

-By Sandy Smith for