University City's meteoric rise in property values in recent years has been well-documented. With my kids still a couple of years from attending the new neighborhood elementary school, it's still anyone's guess as to what the ethnic and income composition of their school will be. But if the front cover of this week's University City Review is any indication, it appears that our neighborhood still has some flavor to it. Here are the three stories that made the front page:

* "State, City and Civic Leaders Welcome Welcoming Center West." My dear colleague Anne O'Callaghan is up to some good here, opening up a satellite office for her agency, which provides resources to recent immigrants.

* "Saads: A Halal Tradition." This Middle Eastern restaurant just a block from our house is a great place to get a falafel with baba ghanouj and a side order of grape leaves, or at least that's what I order when I go there. And the article is accurate: Saad knows my name.

* "West Philadelphian Flies to Jordan for Peace-Building Conference." Don't know the people or organizations involved here, but glad to see locals working for global peace.

So there you have it: three snapshots of the goings-on in our neighborhood. At a time when a higher proportion of American communities are becoming ethnically, socio-economically, and politically homogeneous, I'm glad we bought where we bought when we bought. And at a time when there is so much bad news and such a temptation to be apathetic or jaded when it comes to civic engagement, I'm glad to be part of such an activated and optimistic crowd. Three cheers for University City!
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