Posted on April 18, 2015 by Anna Griffith
Philadelphia, once the ‘Workshop of the World’, has always been of huge economic importance to the United States. Its influence in global financial and industrial markets made it the third most prominent city in the British Empire in the late eighteenth century and this world prominence has remained until today. It is now the fifth largest metropolitan city in the United States.
It is no surprise that due to Philadelphia’s global importance, it surely would have been affected severely by the Great Recession. However Philadelphia was in fact one of the few cities to not be heavily impacted by the economic downturn. Or so they claim…
With announcements of rising strength in the US economy in the recent year, it seems that the effects of this recession should be starting to alleviate, especially in cities like Philadelphia, that were not as deeply affected. However, walking around some of the busiest streets in Philadelphia indicates the impacts are still very apparent.
I am relatively new to this city, and it really struck me how, even five years on, the recession has still left its mark all over the city.
There are an estimated 2,200 pedestrians per hour on the 1300 block of Market Street, the 1600 block of Chestnut Street and the 1700 block of Walnut Street. In other emerging retail areas, counts range from 1,100 to 1,700 pedestrians per hour. It is difficult to imagine how retail could possibly die out in the light of these statistics.
But in the past five years Philly has seen hundreds of shop closures – businesses that finally lost their battle with the downturn. Whilst the economy may be getting back on its feet, with falling unemployment, and indeed expanding infrastructure all over the city, the long term impacts from the recent recession has left a scar o the streets of Philadelphia which no one can ignore.
Photography and Text by Anna Griffiths, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Anna Griffiths is a junior exchange student from Scotland enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.