Cecil B Moore- A North Philly neighborhood in the shadows of Temple University

The Cecil B. Moore district is located between Susquehanna Ave to the north, Girard to the south, Broad to the east and 24th/Ridge to the West. The district is named after Cecil Bassett Moore, a 20th century Philly Lawyer active in the Civil Rights movement and major player with the local NAACP chapter. The oldest parts of the neighborhood development  along Broad. There is a large concentration of grand 3-5 story flats built between the 1860s-1890s. The rest of the neighborhood was built in the late 1800s mixing large and more modest rowhouses. Plenty of affordable in-fill built between 60s-90s as well, as the district experienced significant blight and disinvestment.

Living in the shadows of Temple University has not surprisingly created conflicts between longtime residents of the neighborhood and the University. Development west of Broad street feels to residents as a take over of their community and Temple University has a tendency to isolate itself due to the district’s safety issues. Worse was the controversial term “Templetown” coined by former Temple president Peter J. Liacouras.

But for all these tensions between the University and Cecil B. Moore, the neighborhood has benefited in many ways through a decent amount of neighborhood and cultural amenities, more development and better schools than neighboring North Philly districts, and good urban form along Broad and Cecil B More Avenues. My hope is that the neighborhood continues to revitalize but with a strong sense of partnership between the university and community with attentiveness to the needs of both communities and creating affordable housing alongside market rate investment.
Click here to view my album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent public transit options and access to Dwtn only about 2-2.5  miles away.
* Great connectively with this very gridded street network.
* A surprisingly high diversity of for sale options. Outdated more modest homes sell in the 100Ks. Nicer or medium sized homes in the 200Ks and 300Ks. The district’s southern edge is starting to see higher end new construction or renovations selling in the 400Ks.
* Good amount of rentals and many of them are quite affordable (at least for Philly). 1-bedrooms lease between $800 and low $1,000s. 2-bedrroms in the low to mid-$1,000s, and due to the large student population there are a lot of 3-5 bedrooms homes. These go anywhere from the low $1,000s to mid $2,000s depending on size and condition.
* Temple University has brought a good amount of cultural amenities to the district especially along Broad street. This includes a cineplex, a good array of restaurants and bars along Broad and Cecil B. Moore, the New Freedom Theater (dedicated to A.A. arts),  several Temple performing arts spaces, a handful of live music venues, and several museums.
* The University has also helped bring a fair amount of neighborhood retail to the district esp. along Broad (i.e. supermarket, several banks, a paint store, several drug stores, a Barnes and nobles, a public library. Also plenty of convenience stores, salons/barbers shops along Cecil B. Moore Ave.
* Temple police force adds patrolling of the district and hopefully results in less crime for the neighborhood.
* Good number of walkable schools in the neighborhood for all ages. Mix of poor, medium and excellent ranked-schools. Carver High School is a highly ranked Engineering and Science charter school.
* Urban and form is a decent along Broad St. Some car centric uses. Cecil B Moore is surprisingly a solid urban  and streetscape. Temple seems to have played a role in promoting good urban infill with lots of neighborhood serving retail.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* ADA infrastructure concentrated along Broad St. Most of neighborhood streets have curb cuts but not up to date ADA curbs.
* Lots of blight and abandonment remain in Cecil M Moore. But the neighborhood is certainly headed in the right direction with plenty of revitalization along Broad, especially in Tempe University and in-fill housing concentrated in pockets (i.e. Cecil B. Moore.
* Bike infrastructure isn’t great as there are no dedicated bike lanes and only a handful bike stations.
* Economic diversity seems to be increasing as more Temple students decide to live in the district, but likely at least 70% African American.
* Very high poverty rate (around 45%) . Some income diversity from students and new development.
* Thanks to the heavy student population family households is pretty low but they create decent age diversity.
* Parks and recreation space is so . Unfortunately the Temple fields and parks sitting within the neighborhood don’t appear accessible to residents. There is a decent MLK rec center and the new Ingersoll Park but not much else. Some parks nearby in adjacent districts. There is also a YMCA along Broad.
* No post office in neighborhood and limited access to doctor’s offices and hospitals.

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