Taking a Look at Gentrification in Francisville

In recent years, Francisville, a small neighborhood located in North Philadelphia on the edge of Center City, has been undergoing gentrification, as higher-income earners move into the neighborhood, drawn by housing that is less expensive than Center City.

Gentrification is wealth being forced into poor, urban neighborhoods, most often through the development of new, more expensive housing and new, “hip” stores and businesses. This influx of wealth tends to push the original community out, as they can no longer afford the rising cost of living in the neighborhood, particularly rising real estate taxes.

The gentrification taking place in Francisville is perhaps nowhere more evident than at the heart of the neighborhood, the Francisville Recreation Center, which constantly teems with neighborhood children. Looking north from the playground is the largest vacant lot and development site in the neighborhood, the block bounded by North 19th, Wylie and Cameron Streets, referred to as the Francisville triangle. A developer has proposed to construct a five-story, 115-unit apartment building and 34 townhouses on the site, although construction has not yet started, according to Philadelphia YIMBY.x

Looking across the Francisville triangle from the playground is further evidence of gentrification. O the 800 block of Cameron Street, old and new buildings sit shoulder to shoulder. Among them, a new three-story gray building abuts a two-story old brick rowhouse.

On the corner of 19th and Brown Streets, a four-story, five-unit luxury condominium with metal bay windows was completed in 2020, according to the developer’s website. The development sits in stark contrast to the modest brick three-story row homes, original to the neighborhood, that surround it.

Although gentrification can force long-time residents out of the neighborhood, not all long-time

residents are against new development. Tyrone May, a lifelong Francisville resident who owns a one-story row house at 18th and Uber Streets, is eager for development that will increase his property value so that he can sell his house at a premium, according to WHYY’s Jack Blumgart in an article entitled “Francisville is Booming. The Community is Feuding.”

Residents are divided between two civic groups, according to Blumgart. One civic group, The United Francisville Civic Association, recently formed by a neighborhood newcomer, looks to limit development to less dense homeownership units. The Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation, formed in 2002, welcomes the liveliness that comes with density.


  1. https://stammdevelopment.com/project/750-n-19th-street/
  2. https://whyy.org/articles/francisville-is-booming-the-community-is-feuding
  3. https://www.ocfrealty.com/naked-philly/francisville/19th-brown-trading-body-shop-apartment-building
  4. https://www.compass.com/listing/750-north-19th-street-unit-e-philadelphia-pa-19130/678145317711164065
  5. https://phillyyimby.com/2021/11/vacant-lot-awaits-construction-of-149-unit-development-at-801-north-19th-street-in-francisville-north-philadelphia.html