Powelton Village: A Decline in Diversity

Arthur Bye has worked in real estate for over 35 years.

Arthur Bye, of Urban & Bye Realtor, has seen firsthand the changing demographics of Powelton Village. Over the last half century the neighborhood has lost some of its diversity.

Arthur Bye has worked in real estate for over 35 years.

“Powelton Village started out in the late 1950s as sort of a Greenwich Village type of neighborhood with a very diverse community,” he said, “but that’s sort of changed over the years as the area became more gentrified.”

Bye said that the expansions of Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania have contributed to the changing demographics of the neighborhood, especially in relation to the housing market. Because of the demand for student housing, prices of housing in the neighborhood went up and thus started to displace lower income residents.

“It’s made housing in better condition, it’s made the neighborhood safer, but the penalty has been that it’s much less diverse,” he said.

Although the demographic change has created some improvements in the neighborhood, Bye said that residents wouldn’t necessarily agree that those changes are positive ones.

“People who have lived there their whole lives might no longer be able to afford to live in Powelton Village, making the neighborhood less diverse and more like a suburban community, and some people especially in an urban community think that it’s not such a good thing” he said.

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