University City Review: West Philadelphia Sustainable Communities Updates

University City Review: SCI-West Updates

The buzzword for 2010 seems to be “healthy”. However the SCI-West target area is faced with some challenging health statistics. For example, more than one-quarter (26.7%) of the adult population in the SCI-West target area is obese and three out of ten children ages 6 – 17 are overweight. Those of you who have followed SCI-West from its inception know that “healthy” has always been one of our themes. This past year SCI-West partners have been working diligently on programs that address health at the neighborhood, household, and individual levels. Our partners are working together to confront the some of the health issues that face West Philadelphia through the “Healthy Homes” program. To date, over 40 families have participated in the program.

SCI-West has partnered with University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health Initiatives, The Netter Center, the Urban Nutrition Initiative and the Lea School to produce the “Healthy Times” newspaper. In this extra-curricular program, 5th grade students produce a newspaper about healthy living. They also learn professional journalism skills, while raising awareness of health, fitness, nutrition and safety in the surrounding community.

Our partners are collaborating with the Philadelphia Police Department and National LISC Community Safety Initiative to jointly tackle crime hot spots in our area with creative intervention strategies. Read more below about these efforts to create healthy and safe neighborhoods.

Finally, we are excited to announce that our partnership with the Mural Arts Program will produce Philadelphia’s first living wall. This is one of four gateways that SCI-West and Mural Arts will partner on in the target area. The living wall will feature year round growing plants. It is scheduled for completion in late April of 2010.

Please take some time to check out the SCI-West blog at and be sure to become a fan of ours on Facebook! We will be posting weekly information on employment and grant opportunities, as well as other information that you need to know.

More Updates:

  • People’s Emergency Center’s Bernice Elza Homes, an affordable housing program for young homeless mothers opened on October 21. Bernice Elza homes are located at 3801-11 Brandywine Street. Drive by and check it out!
  • Healthy Homes Program helps over 40 families in SCI-West Target Area
  • The Enterprise Center CDC has partnered with The Partnership CDC to deliver the Healthy Homes Workshop series. Over 40 West Philadelphia families have learned about prevention and intervention methods to combat unhealthy household conditions. Topics have included asthma awareness and triggers, lead prevention, water quality, and alternative pest management. Future workshops will cover monoxide/radon hazards and fire safety. Each family will participate in follow-up home visits with a Healthy Homes educator to assess risk and proper installation of devices. The Department of Public Health, Integrated Pest Management, National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, National Nursing Centers Consortium, and the Philadelphia Water Department have all presented in the series.


Philadelphia’s first living sculpture slated for the intersection of 38th and Powelton Ave

Philadelphia’s first living art sculpture is well on its way to becoming a reality in West Philadelphia. Construction documents and structural engineering are complete. The green wall components have been ordered and the plants are already growing. Construction will begin in a few weeks. Look out for it!

10 Slots available for SCI-West Residents to participate in The Partnership CDC’s Green Professional Training program

Learn all you need to know to become a certified green and cool roof installer! The program will kick off in the end of March. Call Alix at the Partnership CDC for more information at (215) 662-1612.

SCI-West Partners with the Philadelphia Police Department

SCI-West in partnership with UCD, PEC, Philadelphia LISC, LISC’s National Community Safety team, and the Philadelphia Police Department began work in 2009 to identify ways to work together to transform crime hot spots in the SCI-West target area. Meetings started with simple dialog, but have resulted in direct collaborations that hold great promise for the area.

Thus far, these meetings have produced a culture where there is a mutual commitment and an emphasis on linking policing with specific neighborhood revitalization efforts. This program supports a strategic collaboration between the SCI-West partners (UCD, PEC, TEC and TPCDC) and the police.

Work has started with several specific crime and community development targets in both the 16th and 18th district. UCD, as the lead for the SCI-West public safety collaborative has completed a crime study that highlights crime and safety issues specific to the SCI-West target area. The study includes information from multiple GIS layers of data sets and includes the tracking of dispatched calls from January 07 through August 09 by location, type and frequency. Data includes info from over 135,000 incidents during this time frame. Together they are working on several areas of collaboration.

The PPD and SCI-West partners have joined forces to look at synergies between public safety and economic development efforts. Joint activities to date include: performing design reviews on PEC’s current and planned housing developments, analyzing how corridor businesses can alter merchandise mix and stores hours to prevent loitering, and planning around how to use a combination of CDC, neighborhood, and police resources to impact a crime ridden block in the target area.

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