LISC National
Where We Work

Eastern North Philadelphia

Welcome to a vibrant and culturally rich community,  home to one of largest Latinx populations in the city, arts and culture centers, diverse commercial corridors, and affordable and quality green home ownership and rental opportunities. Eastern North Philadelphia (ENP) is brimming with strong organizations, creative leaders, and resilient residents who persistently work for neighborhood change. 

Historical Significance: The east side of North Broad street is home to the largest Latinx populations in Philadelphia, with thriving arts and culture centers, and diverse commercial corridors. It is also home to some of the City’s most abject examples of poverty. Currently, there are more than 5,000 vacant properties, 47% of households do not own their home, and the median household income is only $20,277. 

Despite these challenges, ENP is a vibrant community of small-business owners, unique artists, and proud multi-cultural heritage committed to preserving the best aspects of Philadelphia. Recent and pervasive descriptions of ENP by outside perspectives fail to capture the strength of the neighborhood, and the ethical tours showcase the strength of our neighborhood.

Alongside community partners, residents identified the following neighborhood priorities:

  • Expand investment in housing and other real estate
  • Increase family wealth and income
  • Stimulates economic activity, locally and regionally
  • Improve access to education, training, and family services
  • Foster livable, safe, and healthy environments
  • Nurture creativity through arts & culture
  • Strengthen local leadership

Experience Eastern North Tours 

Experience Eastern North is a community designed and led tour series, where participants explore a neighborhood rich in historically significant cultural treasures. Located at the crossroads of several historic Latinx communities, Eastern North Philadelphia is home to key sites and moments in our city’s ongoing legacy of art, architecture, and activism. These resident-led tours offer the chance to enjoy architecture, local food, art and music, while hearing stories from community members; and supporting physical and cultural preservation for years to come.

Learning from the challenges of traditional walking tours, the following strategies have been undertaken that make this project unique:

  • Community members build the tours- Tours are co-designed and guided by neighborhood residents themselves. This approach offers guests a unique window into the lived history of the community.
  • Experiential- You can't experience the Eastern North community from seated inside a bus. Tours are 2 to 3 hours long and bring you into the life of the neighborhood, architecture, eating at a local restaurant, creating art in a community garden, and participating in a neighborhood service project. This offers a way for visitors to look beyond problems and be part of the implementation of solutions. Instead of being voyeuristic, these tours will emphasize understanding and investing in the neighborhood.
  • Designed for ethical tourism- The tours begin when residents and local organizations sit down together and create common goals that support the health of the community. They work together to achieve these goals by bringing the tours to life.  Aside from its unique strategies, the project has a significant impact to the community and local economy.

The tours also promote the preservation of cultural assets. Meaning the physical structures and places, but also the people, histories, and initiatives. Proceeds directly support the people and initiatives that create culture in the neighborhood. Lastly, the tours support building of relationships between new and established residents. This is a great way to get to know neighbors, and invest in existing small businesses and organizations. Such an effort cannot be done alone, as each organization brings its own set of neighborhood knowledge and networks.

Participating organizations include: Associación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)CeibaHispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), South Kensington Community Partners,Taller PuertorriqueñoThe Village of Arts and Humanities, as well as the Lillian Marrero Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. All of these organizations have committed to collaborating on the planning, design, and execution stages of the project.