Students from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University were named winners of Philadelphia's first Public Policy Case competition at City Hall today.
The competition, which was managed by Mayor Nutter's Office of Policy Planning and Coordination, and the Philadelphia Youth Commission, invited undergraduate and graduate students in the Philadelphia region to submit proposals in response to the prompt What can the City of Philadelphia do to further attract and retain millennials?
The City received a total of 16 submissions from students attending Arcadia University, Drexel University, Philadelphia University, Rutgers University, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, Ursinus University, and Widener University.
"All of the ideas were great and I believe that we could do just about all of them, but we really did want to see answers to the prompting question, which was how do we keep millenials here," said Councilwoman María Quiñones Sánchez. She was among several local leaders who served as judges for the competition.
The winning proposal recommended the establishment of lease-to-own options on select Land Bank properties and affordable student-oriented housing cooperatives for students and recent graduates.
Philly's newly-created land bank became a reality earlier this year. Land banks streamline the process of managing, selling and rehabbing vacant properties that have become community eyesores. Right now, the city has about 40,000 properties that fall under that umbrella.
The winning team, which included Eileen Divringi, Matt Steele and Ellie Devyatkin from the University of Pennsylvania, and Maxwell Cohen from Temple University, met with Mayor Michael Nutter to discuss their proposal and were awarded tickets to the Mayor’s Box for a Phillies game.
Sánchez, who was a big supporter of establishing a land bank, said the winning team created a smart proposal that directly responded to the competition prompt.
"In the case of the winner, they clearly focused on the issue, and considered all of the planning that is going on with Land Bank, and the fact that Universities have problems with housing. We thought they really responded to the prompting better than anyone else, and in a simple way. You want young people to stay, they need a place to live. Simple as that."