The View From North Philly(Click for HD Version of This Graphic)
The Job Desert
is filled with crowded, run down or abandoned houses. And danger. There's a downtown of opportunity within sight, but it's out of reach.
Urban sprawl in cities like Philadelphia has created a twisted "charm bracelet" of neighborhoods. Some are showplaces, while others are less impressive.
Closed factories and warehouses, and uncared for single family homes that are located in or near tourist attractions or retail districts are rapidly converted into valuable rental, home and condo properties. For their residents, transportation for employment and recreation is simply an item in their family budget.
Job Deserts harbor unwanted, empty factories and warehouses, surrounded by homes that once housed low-waged workers. Those homes are now empty or filled with many unemployed or disabled worker-wannabes. Most local, income-earning jobs are classified as "sole proprietor".
SEPTA does an exceptional job of providing access from every neighborhood of the city to every other neighborhood. Unfortunately, even their reasonably-priced fares prevent many entry level workers from applying for life-changing employment in other parts of the city.
A $5 round trip fare for a job interview can come at the cost of a family meal. If the interview results in employment, the fares for round trips every day until a first paycheck is received is an anticipated obstacle that can keep even the most motivated prospective employee from applying for a job that will ultimately be impossible to reach.
Expecting residents of some neighborhoods to walk even relatively short distances for work, at least until they get paid, can literally be dangerous to the walker's health. During daylight hours, some hangouts are too dangerous to walk past. Walking at night can be dangerous along the entire route.