An abandoned house and lot on the 2900 block of Westmont Avenue in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Part I in a series by Dylan Lewis, ecoWURD Senior Producer
This week WHYY published an article, “Fighting blight by fixing up homes could bring down Philly gun violence, new study shows.” The study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, found that Philadelphia blocks where abandoned and dilapidated homes received full intervention–fixing broken windows, weeding, and picking up trash–saw a 13% drop in gun assaults.
WURD Radio host and ecoWURD managing editor Charles Ellison has long advocated for “place-based” gun violence strategies and was quoted in the article: “If we just simply made these spaces totally clean, totally green, totally resilient, totally livable, we would not have this much violence, Philadelphia would be a near non-violent city…It is absolute lunacy that policymakers and activists and advocates have not gone this route and have not started doing this yet.”
Ellison also critiqued the mindset of our city around Black communities. “There’s a narrative that because we’re Black we live in bad neighborhoods that are in disrepair, I think that has to stop now. That mindset has to be eliminated.” WHYY has the full story on their site. To hear more from Charles Ellison about environmental justice, tune into ecoWURD every Friday from 10 am-12 pm, only on WURD Radio. Listen to WURD on 96.1 FM or 900 am, online at wurdradio.com, or on the WURD Radio app.