Montco Downtowns Without Diverse Mix of Uses Fared Worse During Pandemic

Image via Narberth Community Facebook.
Downtown Narberth.

A new study by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission found that the Philadelphia-area downtowns without a diverse mix of uses—such as Narberth and Haverford—fared worse during the pandemic, writes Natalie Kostelni for the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Diverse Montco downtowns share several similar characteristics, including a mix of residential and retail uses, transportation options, permanent residential populations, access to trails, and walkability, that helped insulate them from the most severe effects of the pandemic.  

Meanwhile, those communities that lacked one or a combination of those characteristics did not fare as well.

Despite their perennial charm, Narberth and Haverford did not do as well during the pandemic as their diverse peers.

Due to its reliance on transit commuters as part of its population that supports the local economy, Narberth was affected significantly by remote work.

And while Haverford boasts some diversity, it was struck by the absence of college students and the lack of commuters who usually use its train station.

“The pandemic exposed weaknesses that weren’t apparent in prior crises,” Gober said. “Diversity equals resiliency.”

Read more about the study’s findings and Montco Downtowns in the Philadelphia Business Journal.