A new study by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission found that the Philadelphia-area downtowns with a diverse mix of uses — such as Phoenixville — fared better during the pandemic, writes Natalie Kostelni for the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Several characteristics helped downtowns insulate themselves from the worst effects of COVID-19:
- A mix of residential and retail
- Transportation options
- Permanent residential populations
- Access to trails
Communities that lacked one or a combination of these characteristics did not fare as well.
This diversity helped Phoenixville survive the pandemic with minimal damage.
“It has benefited from all of the work they have done to support the downtown,” said Spencer K. Gober, a DVRPC senior planner who conducted the study.
The town stayed resilient during the past 15 months thanks to its abundance of craft breweries, a mix of people living in the downtown, and connections with regional trails.
“The pandemic exposed weaknesses that weren’t apparent in prior crises,” Gober said. “Diversity equals resiliency.”
Read more about the study’s findings in the Philadelphia Business Journal.