Overview Community of City of Philadelphia

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A windshield survey is a method of observing a community’s surroundings while traveling in a motor vehicle, like a car, bus, or trolley (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012). The objective is to collect visual data on the typical sights of a community that used to be safe, clean, family-friendly, and prosperous. Regrettably, this previously thriving community has been experiencing economic decline. Nevertheless, there are indications of progress as renovations are underway and residents are coming back to the city neighborhoods.

The cityscape of Philadelphia is divided into four sections: Eastern Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and South Philadelphia. This analysis will focus on West Philadelphia, the community where I have lived for most of my life. From a nurse’s perspective, various aspects of this community will be examined including housing and zoning, open spaces, boundaries, common areas, transportation, service centers, stores and street dwellers. Furthermore, indicators of deterioration as well as racial and ethnic diversity will be considered along with religious and political influences on health and morbidity rates in this area. Lastly but not leastly ,the media coverage of these topics will also be explored.

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According to Stanhope & Lancaster (2012), a community can be described as a group of people living in a specific geographic area who share a common culture, values, and norms. They also have established relationships and a social structure. Community health refers to the services and resources provided by health agencies. Nurses assess the community as their own concern when viewing it as their client.

By observing the community, I am pinpointing problems, social structures, and risk factors that impact the community, which can aid in focusing on improvements. My survey of West Philadelphia commences by identifying the health indicator of Healthy People 2020, encompassing a community lacking financial resources that could benefit from enhanced educational and community-based programs. This encompasses a variety of issues in my chosen community, including inadequate diet and physical activity, excessive tobacco and alcohol use, and chronic diseases.

According to Healthy People 2020, educational and community based programs aim to promote health and wellness by providing targeted education to communities. In West Philadelphia, there are approximately 79,489 residents (19143 City Zip Code Detailed Profile, 2012). The population is composed of 36,299 males and 43,179 females (19143 City Zip Code Detailed Profile, 2012). The housing in this area is predominantly historical, with many houses dating back to the 1930’s or earlier. Most of the homes are three or two story row houses, although there are also twin houses. West Philly is primarily a residential area.

There are numerous commercial establishments within the vicinity, such as pizza shops, clothing stores, mini markets, and corner stores. Most of these establishments are brick houses, although many of them are abandoned or in need of cosmetic repairs. There is also an ongoing process of reconstructing and revitalizing old homes.

Regarding open spaces, some demolished houses have been replaced by mini parks and vegetable gardens. These areas were previously occupied by houses that have been torn down.

In a 5 mile radius, there are five parks: Black Oak Park, Cedar Park, Spruce Hill, and others named after different trees.

Boundaries The boundaries of Philadelphia, PA include various regions, including West Philadelphia. Commonly known as West Philly, this area is characterized by streets with trolley tracks and the El train (short for Elevated train). Schools are located within a 15-mile radius of each other. The Schuylkill River and small creeks act as dividers between West Philly and the rest of the city. Moreover, West Philadelphia comprises diverse neighborhoods like Cobbs Creek, Cedar Park, Spruce Hill, Woodland, among others. Commons

In the park, people can enjoy watching their children play on swings and roll down hills in the early evenings. There are also indoor and outdoor cafes where individuals can dine or indulge in gourmet coffee or beer when the weather is pleasant. School yards provide areas for boys to play basketball and children to ride bikes. Public transportation, known as SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), consists of trolleys, buses, and an elevated rail line called the El. SEPTA operates continuously day and night and is highly reliable.

The area is densely populated with a wide range of vehicles, including family cars, vans, taxis, buses, and bikes. There are many service centers available. Within a ten-block radius, there are numerous elementary schools. Furthermore, there are more than twenty day care centers scattered throughout the block, some even adjacent to each other. The area also has junior high schools, high schools, and two catholic schools. Residents have access to three hospitals within a 2-4 mile range. Additionally, there are three recreation centers and several parks nearby in different sizes. Alongside a Rite Aid pharmacy, there are various small family-run pharmacies and variety stores located on nearly every corner.

Within West Philly, there are numerous stores and street people occupying different neighborhoods. These stores range from clothing outlets offering items like jeans, t-shirts, and quick outfits, to shoe stores like Payless shoes and Sneaker Villa. Additionally, there are supermarkets such as Fresh Grocer, Sav-a-lot, Pathmark, and Shop Rite, along with health food stores. Other establishments include bakeries, cleaners, gas stations, beauty supply stores, and discount stores. Hair and nail salons can also be found in abundance. Among the dining options are several fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, as well as various pizza shops.

During my survey, I did not observe any street people. However, I noticed signs of decay in several areas where renovations are taking place. Although there is daily trash pickup, there is also litter on the streets and graffiti on abandoned buildings, as well as a few boarded-up structures.

In terms of race and ethnicity, Philadelphia’s zip code 19143 has a population breakdown: 12,902 white individuals, 68,709 black individuals, 4,488 Asian individuals, 3,390 Hispanic or Latino individuals; and 9,436 individuals belonging to other races including Hawaiians and Indians (19143 City Zip Code Detailed Profile, 2012).

Additionally, religion and politics also generate interest among residents.

Within this area, there are both Baptist and Catholic religions, with numerous churches located within a radius of two to three blocks. Additionally, many of these churches provide child care services.

The political leaning in this area is predominantly towards the Democratic Party, evident through an abundance of Obama stickers, signs, and the presence of two Obama headquarters.

In terms of health, smoking and alcohol consumption are prevalent among the population. However, no instances of drug use or mental illness were observed. The nearest hospitals are conveniently situated nearby, some even within walking distance from the surveyed area.

The media landscape I observe includes cable, satellites, and old TV antennas attached to many homes. I also see new paper stands that display the Daily Newspaper and the Philadelphia Tribune, as well as newspaper racks showcasing The City Paper and Job net. Additionally, I have noticed numerous cars tuned in to different radio stations.


The zip code 19143 has a detailed profile available at http://www.city-data.com/zips/19143.html. To learn more about population-centered health care in the community, refer to Stanhope and Lancaster’s book “Population-centered health care in the community” (8th ed.) published by Mosby Elsevier.

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Overview Community of City of Philadelphia. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from


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