March 9: Pittsburgh’s Resilience Strategy | Philadelphia homicide trends | Concordia closer acquiring 5 closed public schools

Mayor Bill Peduto has released the Pittsburgh Resilience Strategy, evaluating the city’s sustainability goals to respond to “ongoing pressures stemming from urbanization, globalization, and climate change.”  Next City reports that in order to achieve these goals, the Mayor emphasized that the city must overcome socioeconomic inequalities and vestiges of the Steel City’s industrial past.

The Commonwealth Court judges have backed a sale of five closed Philadelphia schools to the private real estate investment group Concordia for $6.8 million. The schools Concordia is trying to buy are the Charles Carroll and Germantown high schools and the Robert Fulton, Walter Smith, and Abigail Vare elementary schools. A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge initially blocked the sale but on appeal a Commonwealth Court judge sent it back with “explicit orders to approve it” and also denied Councilmember Johnson’s petition to intervene. Pennlive covers the details of this controversial plan.

Philadelphia Weekly analyzed and mapped out the solved and unsolved homicides between 2012 and 2016, finding that “nearly a third of the city’s solved and unsolved homicides…happened in just a handful of the police department’s 21 districts.” Max Marin looks into the disproportionate clusters of homicide clearance rates and the blame game that ensues.

Are casinos worth the courtship and tax incentives that competing cities throw at them? Strong Towns media looked into a case study of two casinos in downtown Cedar Rapids, comparing property tax values of the casinos with surrounding properties, including vacant lots. Based on the findings, contributor Bruce Nesmith argues that “as economic drivers casinos seem less effective than incremental urbanism.”

The blustery winds and pockets of warmth have brought confusion and joy for Philadelphians, but could also cause forest fires. Newsworks’ Justin Auciello reports on the National Weather Service’s fire warnings at the Jersey Shore.

About the author

Diana Lu, Community Engagement Editor

Diana runs PlanPhilly’s community outreach and engagement online and in real life. She has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho and email her at

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