Environmental Effects

Patients as Person, City as Healer?
by Nathaniel Popkin


In the earliest days of the Center for Community Partnerships at Penn, a project I was a part of for a few years in the mid-’90s, we considered (but never executed) a “misery/happiness index” for West Philadelphia. The index was an idea of the historian Lee Benson, the Dewian visionary who believed that an engaged university was a unique engine of participatory democracy. Benson didn’t hope to facilitate another study of an urban neighborhood, but rather he wanted to create a quantifiable tool to help West Philadelphians reflect on the relationship between the quality of their own lives and the condition of the city they live in.
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