In case you missed it: this week’s good reads about Pennsylvania’s urban issues

    Happy Friday! Here’s a list of recommended reading for your weekend:

     A “fresh start”

    Tom Wolf took the oath of office this week. In his inauguration speech, he outlined his priorities: “First, jobs that pay. Second, schools that teach. And third, a government that works.”

    He might’ve added, “but before all that, I’m going to send out some pink slips.” (Philly.com)

    Hey gov! This might be a good time for you to check out what your constituents have to say about their communities –and what they think you may not know.

    For fun: Wolf’s inaugural ball called for “celebratory dress.” Don’t know what that means? Neither did many of the attendees, apparently. (Penn Live)

    Data and more data

    The city of Philadelphia released three decades worth of data on everything from statistics on crime and infant survival rates to jobs data.

    Pensions

    WITF’s Smart Talk takes a deep dive into the problem of unfunded pensions—and potential solutions–in this interview with Pa. Municipal League’s executive director.

    ICYMI, here’s our breakdown of the auditor general’s suggested fix.

    And here’s a closer look at Philly’s pension problem (it’s a big one).

    Law enforcement

    Here’s some good news for Philly: it ranks high for return on its investment in police.

    Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the police are asking for the public’s help.

    Schools

    Want to take a look at your school district’s finances? Here’s a new tool you can use. 

    Philly mayoral hopefuls weigh in on charter schools.

    One report says outsourcing education might be the best bet if your school district is distressed.

    Transportation

    We all know Pittsburgh is making strides in making the city bike friendly. But what about Philly?

    An (interactive) exploration of New York City’s “dollar van” networks.

    Marketplace picked up our story about prefab bridges (listen to the end to hear our reporter “Ikea-cize” the name of a Pa. bridge).

    Trolleys may be charming, but are they actually effective for transportation? (City Lab

    Are we falling in love with public transportation, or are we just flirting? (The Week)

    City love

    What makes you fall in love with your city? Here’s a somewhat literary look. (Next City)

    A Toronto columnist wants everyone to get over their “village fetish” and embrace their “urban reality” already. (The Star)

    Will you like your city in 15 years? Check out this interactive tool from the Urban Institute to look into the future. (via City Lab)

    Philly’s on the shortlist of cities to host the Democratic Convention. Organizers say the decision will be practical. (The Washington Post)

    20 things not to say to a Midstater. For one, don’t dis the Yuengling. (Penn Live)

    A new study says the fear of “slumburbia” doesn’t necessarily hold water. (City Lab)

    You’re invited!

    Live in or around Reading? We’d love for you to join us for our forum next Monday. (There will be food!)

    Here’s what our project editor and Reading-area reporter have to say about the event. 

     

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