Not long ago, the West Philadelphia neighborhood surrounding one of the jewels of the Ivy League -- the University of Pennsylvania -- was not the kind of place you walked alone after dark.
Now it's a fantasy of urban living come to life, a district lined with graceful three-story historic homes, dotted with restaurants and bars and shops, embraced by former suburbanites, city dwellers and young families as the future of Philadelphia.
What can we learn from Philly? Lots. And Omar Blaik, who was the first Penn planning employee to take advantage of rental subsidies to purchase a home in West Philly, is now consulting with UCCA and other Midtown partners to take what Philly learned to grow the Wayne State University district.
As Blaik tells it, interest in Midtown Detroit is "much, much higher" than it was when the West Philly effort was getting off the ground. And if the necessary elements are successfully stitched together there -- as he, the anchor institutions and UCCA President Sue Mosey are hoping -- it could create an "eds and meds" model that could be reproduced in cities around the country.
Read the Free Press report here