PCPC staff and partner City agencies created a series of ‘existing conditions’ memos to kick off the Upper North District Plan. Read our existing conditions memos here.
The Far Northeast Districts roughly coincides with Lower Dublin, Moreland, and Byberry Townships and a portion of Delaware Township, several of the many municipalities that were consolidated into the City of Philadelphia in 1854. Its neighborhoods include Bustleton, Somerton, Parkwood, Normandy, Walton Park, Millbrook, Morrell Park, Crestmont Farms, Academy Gardons, Ashton, Winchester, Winchester Park, Pennypack Woods, and portions of Upper Holmesburg, and East and West Torresdale.
The Far Northeast was largely developed in the post-war years following the PCPC’s 1955 Physical Development Plan for the Far Northeast, with the peak of housing construction occurring during the 1950s and 1960s. Over the past 30 years, the Districts have undergone some dramatic changes, including sharp decreases in younger residents (under 44 years old) and increases in older residents (45 and older). Many of the neighborhoods retain well-deserved reputations for being stable, affordable, safe communities with strong institutions and a plethora of open space and retail options. The Districts population is projected to grow slightly over the coming decades.
The Far Northeast is a magnet for immigrant residents and entrepreneurs, comprising approximately 20 percent of its population, becoming a center for new residents born in Eastern Europe and South Asia. Between 2010 and 2014, there was a large increase in foreign-born residents from China and Brazil, as well as a continued influx of immigrants born in former Soviet countries. As in other areas of the City, foreign-born residents are clustered within a few communities, with close to 60 percent of residents living in one census tract in the Somerton neighborhood being foreign-born.
The Districts has slightly more employed residents (59,500) as it has jobs (50,300). Much of these jobs are located within the industrial parks and shopping centers that surround the Northeast Philadelphia Airport and line Roosevelt Boulevard. While the Far Northeast lacks traditional pedestrian-oriented commercial corridors, commercial activity is concentrated within nodes primarily along Roosevelt Boulevard and Bustleton Avenue but also along other transportation arterials throughout the Districts and at the Philadelphia Mills mall, which hosts 2.4 million square feet of floor area available for commercial establishments. Jobs within the Districts are concentrated in health care and social assistance, industrial sectors, and retail.
Despite its distance and minimal direct transit connections to the metropolitan core, the Far Northeast Districts is well-integrated into the transportation networks of the City and region via Roosevelt Boulevard and I-95. While trips by car far outnumber travel by other modes, many Far Northeast residents commute via Regional Rail by boarding at the Somerton and Forest Hills Stations and regional rail stations outside the Districts. The intersection of Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard is perhaps the most dangerous in the City, with 174 crashes between 2010 and 2014. Walking and cycling to work are relatively uncommon for Districts residents.