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Upper Northwest Meeting Recap

Over 350 people attended the 1st public meeting for the Upper Northwest District Plan on January 29th!

If you couldn't go to the meeting, you can do the public meeting activity online until Friday, February 23rd.

Here's the information presented at the meeting!

History & Boundaries

Much of the Upper Northwest Planning District was called German Township prior to 1854.

The boundaries are Stenton Avenue, Wister Street, Wissahickon Avenue and the Wissahickon Creek, and Northwestern Avenue.

The major neighborhoods in the Upper Northwest are Germantown, East and West Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill.

Property Types & uses

"Land Use" is how planners describe the kinds of buildings or activities on each property.

In the Upper Northwest District, there are many different land uses.

Commercial, religious, medical, and school buildings are clustered on Germantown Avenue, which is the oldest road in the district and the historic main street.

Chelten Avenue is another major commercial street.

Rowhouses and multi-family housing are more common in Germantown, and the district has a lot of public park space.

people in the Upper northwest

Most of the people in the Upper Northwest live in Germantown.

Population density, or how many people living in a certain area, decreases as you go north and west into Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill.

Most residents identify as Black or African-American, but very few areas have an overwhelming majority of a single race.

Age of residents

On average, residents are slightly older than the city average.

The District Plan will address this older population, especially whether elderly residents are able to live in the older existing homes.

education level of residents

On average residents have higher levels of education compared to the City as a whole.

The question is: “are these well-educated citizens able to find and access good jobs?”

homeowners and renters

A little more than half of residents live in homeowner households rather than rental properties.

However, when you break these figures down by neighborhood, there are differences:

47 percent of Germantown residents live in homeowner households, compared to 66 percent in Mount Airy and 60 percent in Chestnut Hill.

Renting is an intentional choice for many Upper Northwest residents and recent construction of new rental properties shows there is a demand for high-quality rental housing.


About 60% of residents drive to work, which is the same as the average for the entire city.

Upper Northwest residents are a little more likely to take public transit and a little less likely to walk or bike.

While the district has some of the best regional rail access in the region, residents actually ride the bus almost six times as much as the train.

historic sites

The Upper Northwest has many historic sites, including 500 properties that are protected on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and two local historic districts.

Local historic designation protects buildings and structures from being demolished. However, there are many historic properties that are not protected.

The age of the buildings in the Upper Northwest is a positive aspect but also can be a problem because of lead paint in older buildings. This is one of the reasons there is a higher rate of children diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels.

parks & environmental resources

The Upper Northwest is blessed with a unique landscape and a history of taking care of the environment.

Germantown Avenue roughly splits the district into two watersheds: the Wissahickon watershed to the southwest and the Tacony-Frankford watershed to the northeast.

The Wissahickon Valley’s famous ravines and slopes are beautiful, but also can cause erosion if stormwater is not managed properly.

We’re fortunate to have a lot of trees compared to the rest of the city, but many of our street trees are near the end of their natural lives and will need to be replaced soon.

visit the plan page to learn more. don't forget to participate online if you missed the meeting!

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