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STATUS: ADOPTED by PCPC – June 11, 2013

DP_Centralbook_2.indbRead the Central District Plan (Full)

Read the Central Executive Summary

Read the Central Zoning Appendix








About the Central District:

As the metropolitan center of the Delaware Valley region, the Central District has over 300 years of history, infrastructure, culture, innovation, and urbanity to tout. Highlighted below are four broad assets – the Central Business District, Culture & Tourism, Transportation, and Neighborhoods – that form the backbone of not only development and growth for the district, but also for the city.


Key Neighborhoods:

Northern Liberties, East Poplar, West Poplar, Callowhill, Old City, Chinatown, Society Hill, Washington Square West, Queen Village, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Francisville, Fairmount, Spring Garden, Logan Square, Rittenhouse Square, and Southwest Center City.

Central Business District:

The Central Business District of Philadelphia spans the Schuylkill River and lies in both the University /Southwest and Central Districts, reflecting the expanded definition of the metropolitan center as defined by the Citywide Vision. The Central Business District is the hub of commerce for the region and is home to over 335,000 job in total or 50% of all employment in Philadelphia.

The main two sectors of jobs in the Central Business District are educational/medical and office/business services.  The eds/meds sector has been a growing provider of jobs in the Central Business District where core areas have a density of over 250 jobs per acre.

Culture & Tourism

The Philadelphia region received over 35 million visitors in 2011 pumping over $8 billion into the regional economy.  Many of the top regional attractions are located in the Central District including Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center, and the National Constitution Center.  These complement the many other smaller museums, attractions and events in the district.

The District also boasts many new attractions including the expanded Convention Center, National Museum of American Jewish History, the Union Transfer music venue, the renovated Philadelphia History Museum and the Barnes Foundation. In a 2011 report by the Pew Charitable Trust, 94% Philadelphia suburbanites classified the city as a good or excellent place to experience culture and 87% of Philadelphians said the same.


The Central District can be compared to the hub of a wheel with all the transportation assets radiating out of it and connecting it to its nearby neighborhoods, the suburbs, and beyond. Interstate highways, mass transit, an expanding bike network, and a walkable grid make the Central District easily accessible for residents, visitors, workers, and goods movement.

Walkability is one of Center City’s greatest assets, providing an active lifestyle where work, shopping, housing, and historical and cultural attractions are all within short stroll.  Thirty percent of Central District residents walk to work, over 6% bike to work using the expanding bike lane network, and  22% commute using transit. Transit is also an excellent option for workers and visitor who live outside of Center City. Central District transit includes SEPTA regional rail, the Broad Street subway, the Market Frankford El, subway-surface trolleys, and 29 bus routes, as well as, PATCO rail, New Jersey Transit bus service, and private inter-city bus transit providers.


The Central District is home to many neighborhoods of choice. The high-quality of Center City’s neighborhoods is reflected in the maintenance of its homes, the strength of its civic associations, neighborliness, historic value, and most easy to measure, home values. All areas of the Central District have seen an increase in property values since 1980, even when adjusted for inflation. The 2010 median settlement price for a Center City home was $279,700.

The desirability of Center City is also reflected in its population growth. Over 17,000 additional residents live in the Central District since 1980.  This population growth is driven by young, highly-educated, single person households.  Most interesting, over 60% of all Central households are one person.



Ian Litwin, 215-683-4609,



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