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The Philadelphia Badlands is a section of North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States that in the 1980s and '90s became known for an abundance of open-air recreational drug markets and drug-related violence. It has amorphous and somewhat disputed boundaries, but is generally agreed to include the 25th police district.
Though the term "Badlands" may refer to any crime-ridden neighborhood in North Philadelphia, it is typically understood to be an area between 2nd Street and Broad Street from east to west, and between Hunting Park Avenue and York Street from north to south. Coinciding with the neighborhoods of Glenwood, Fairhill, Harrowgate, Nicetown, Hunting Park, Stanton, and North Central.
The term, "The Badlands", was popularized in part by the novel Third and Indiana by then Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez. The neighborhood also was featured in several episodes of ABC's Nightline. The intersection of 3rd Street and Indiana Avenue was listed number two in a 2007 list of the city's top ten drug corners according to an article by Philadelphia Weekly reporter Steve Volk.
At one time a center of heavy industry, much of the urban landscape is characterized by vacant warehouses and tightly-packed strips of brick row houses constructed for the working class of the neighborhood. Like most industrial cities, Philadelphia suffered economic decline following the deportation of industry to developing countries and has suffered as a result. The Philadelphia Badlands contain a diverse mix of ethnicities, including Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the Irish. The nickname "Badlands" may also refer to the high gang area of African American and Puerto Rican street gangs, as well as its abundance in open-air drug dealing.
The area's dismal reputation has been countered by community activists and nonprofit organizations such as Centro Nueva Creación, which in 2010 conducted a summer children's program, "The Goodlands Photographers," aimed at helping young people to photograph and display positive images of their neighborhood.
- Volk, Steve. "Trouble Spots: Third and Indiana." Philadelphia Weekly. May 24, 2006. Retrieved on January 19, 2009.
- Martinez, Vanessa. "Child Photographers Find Good in the Badlands." Philadelphia Inquirer. August 13, 2010. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
- Volk, Steve. "Top 10 Drug Corners." Philadelphia Weekly. May 2, 2007. Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
- Pray, Rusty. "Against Odds, They Take On Drugs In Badlands On Every Corner, Dealers Sell. With Small Numbers, A Task Force Presses On Despite Risks.". Philly.com. Philly.com. Retrieved 1 December 2013.