Members of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia tour Woodland Avenue.

Economic Development

Housing, Economic Development & Neighborhood Planning

In 1996, a partnership between Southwest CDC, Woodland Avenue Presbyterian Church, and Wayne Presbyterian Church formed and facilitated the development of a comprehensive economic study of Southwest Philadelphia. This partnership, known as the Southwest Economic Conference, received tremendous support and participation from the surrounding community as well as a number of elected officials and city and state agencies.

Southwest Economic Development Strategy

The Southwest Economic Development Strategy, developed for Southwest Economic Conference by Urban Partners, identifies 10 initiatives that are needed to improve the economic health of the area. Click the links below to learn more.

This study has guided Southwest CDC’s community revitalization and economic development efforts, and we have worked to successfully implement many of these initiatives.

Woodland Avenue Revitalization Project (WARP)

Woodland Avenue Revitalization Project was created to improve the appearance of the avenue, the quality of goods sold, and to reduce the perception of crime with the goal of increasing the number of consumers. The Development Strategy for the Woodland Avenue Revitalization Project details 33 tasks designed to accomplish that goal. It also includes exciting renderings of what the Avenue can be with a few key improvements. Our efforts to promote commercial revitalization and promote a vibrant business community include:


  • Southwest CDC organized the Woodland Avenue Business Association and continues to coordinate quarterly meetings, business workshops and other promotional events.
  • Assisted 10 businesses in the application process for Storefront Improvement Project in 2015.
  • Assisted eight businesses in applying for and received the Business Stabilization Grant from The Merchants Fund totaling.
  • Provided updates to Southwest businesses during the installation of the new ADA compliant curb ramps and new timed traffic lights.
  • Participated in Litter Convening Group meetings facilitated by Commerce Department and Keep Philadelphia Beautiful.
  • Participation in Philly Spring Clean-up every year since 2012
  • 12 Hardscape banners and 12 country flags installed in May 2012
  • All abandoned pay phones were removed in 2011
  • Trees have been planted in empty tree pits along the core commercial corridor in 2010
  • Mural Arts decorated the old concrete bench surrounds creating visual interest along 3 blocks in 2010
  • Ten Big Belly Trash Cans installed in 2010
  • 37 business enrolled in UnLitter Us

Cleaning Woodland Avenue

Between 2007 and 2019, Southwest CDC cleaned the litter from Woodland Avenue. For the first six years, Southwest CDC managed the program with funding from State and private sources. In 2013, the Philadelphia Commerce Department awarded Southwest CDC funds which allowed for 50 or more hours of street cleaning, bandit sign removal, inlet cleaning along the eight block core retail section of Woodland Avenue.

In 2015:

  • 1092 bags of litter were removed from Woodland Avenue
  • 2163.48 hours of cleaning along Woodland Avenue was completed
  • 20 businesses were enrolled in UnLitter Us program

Business Development and Technical Assistance

Southwest CDC has developed significant partnerships with other resource and service providers to help strengthen local businesses. These include:

  • Over 60 local businesses have received technical assistance and close to $1 million in micro-financing through an innovative partnership with FINANTA
  • Southwest CDC has helped two businesses to obtain $12,000 in financing through a partnership with Kiva.
  • Southwest CDC has helped 11 Woodland Avenue businesses to access $108,000 in grant funding from the The Merchants Fund.
  • Southwest CDC works with city agencies to ensure that all businesses in Southwest can access available programs and services, such as the Department of Commerce’s Storefront Improvement program and Streetscapes, Corridor Beautification, and Corridor Cleaning program.

Southwest Gateway Planning

Southwest CDC identified several tracts of city-owned land near S. 63rd Street and Lindbergh Avenue. Seeing the development potential of the sites, we obtained site control from the City and received a design services grant from the Community Design Collaborative to help determine project feasibility. This initial design phase indicated a strong need for affordable senior housing in the community, and we are now moving forward with the next steps toward the implementation of Southwest Gateway Housing. (DRAFT ONLY)

Greening and the Environment

Southwest CDC is committed to improving the overall environment and quality of life in Southwest Philadelphia. We currently clean six “Soak It Up” sites throughout Southwest in partnership with the Philadelphia Water Department and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and we actively help them to promote their various recycling, greening and water quality improvement initiatives. In addition, we have spearheaded the following recent initiatives:

    • Brownfield Redevelopment: In 2015, Southwest CDC engaged a team of graduate students from the Temple University Graduate Planning Studio to investigate the level of environmental contamination in the community. This effort resulted in the report Addressing Brownfields: An Inventory & Redevelopment Plan for Southwest Philadelphia which identified over 350 properties that are considered either existing or potential brownfields. Southwest CDC is now working to encourage property owners to clean-up their properties.
    • Backyard Junkyards: Southwest CDC has been extremely concerned with the proliferation of what appear to be small automotive junkyards and storage sites throughout Southwest, many of which are not operating entirely within the bounds of the law. We have created a Zeemap entitled SW Philadelphia Automotive Locations that shows the excessive numbers of these establishments currently impacting the community, and have worked with elected and city officials and other stakeholders to bring attention to issue as well as begin to identify potential solutions.

Contact if you have concerns regarding the status of a particular automotive or brownfield property or parcel.

Community Planning

In partnership with the United States Green Building Council, Southwest CDC helped to create the Southwest Advisory Board, a community group that is focused on creating awareness and addressing environmental issues, including promoting environmentally sustainability and green friendly principles and practices.