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Report: Philly buildings with character are good for jobs, diversity

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Plus: Find out how much character your neighborhood has

As one of the oldest cities in the country, it’s no surprise that Philly’s neighborhoods are teeming with history and character. Now, a new report and interactive map reveals just how important the city’s smaller, older buildings are to Philly’s fabric and future.

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s recently published Atlas of ReUrbanism Summary Report, Philly neighborhoods that boast character are good for businesses, job growth, and diversity. Specifically, the researchers write:

Philadelphia has seen nearly $2 billion in private investment through rehabilitation tax credits and its high character areas have more than twice the number of jobs in new and small business in Philadelphia.

The report also found that high character areas in Philly were also more diverse. About 70 percent of businesses in these neighborhoods are owned by women or minorities, compared to around 30 percent of businesses in low-character areas.

In short: Character counts.

But what exactly builds a neighborhood’s character? It’s not just about an area’s quaintness, the researchers write. To come up with a “character score,” they weighed in three factors: The median age of buildings, the diversity of the age of buildings, and the size of buildings and parcels.

Along with the report, Atlas ReUrbanism launched an interactive map that not only highlights high- and low-character areas, but also a slew of publicly available data on Philly’s buildings, from National Historic Landmarks to historic buildings to median age of structures.

You can enter your address to find out your neighborhood’s character score.

Places highlighted in red have the smallest, oldest buildings mixed in with new development. Blue areas have less character because they’re mostly new, large buildings of the same age.

Not surprisingly, neighborhoods like Old City and much of Center City earned high character scores, although Market East was more blue than red.