The Weekly WrapThe Weekly Wrap

The Weekly Wrap: Philadelphia Theatre’s Musicians Demand Higher Wages

Also: Seattle requires large buildings to cut emissions.

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Welcome to our last Weekly Wrap newsletter of 2023! We’ll be back in your inbox on January 5th.

Now… onto the briefs!

Musicians At Philadelphia’s Forrest Theatre Demand Higher Wages

Musicians working at the Forest Theatre in Philadelphia who are unionized with Local 77 are demanding a pay increase. They are paid $400 less per week compared to musicians working on nearby Broad Street, according to a press release. Forrest Theatre is owned by the Schubert Organization, which also owns 17 Broadway theaters and another six off-Broadway theaters. “This is a question of greed, not a question of whether our work is valuable or whether Shubert can afford to pay us fairly,” trombonist Robert Suttman said in the release. “If Philadelphia wants to keep talented musicians in this city, we must be compensated at the industry standard. We can’t be expected to subsidize big theater business.”

Seattle Is Requiring Large Buildings To Reduce Emissions to Net Zero

Seattle’s City Council unanimously passed building performance standards that require large buildings to drastically cut their emissions, Smart Cities Dive reports. The new requirements will apply to buildings larger than 20,000 square feet, which equates to about 4,135 (3%) of Seattle’s buildings, according to the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment. The city expects this “landmark legislation” to cut its total core emissions by 10% by 2050, according to Smart Cities Dive. Building owners who don’t comply will be subject to fines.

CDFI Certifications Get Updated

The Treasury Department has revised how Community Development Financial Institutions are certified, according to a December 7 notice. CDFIs are financial lenders with a mission to serve under-resourced communities. New CDFIs were unable to apply for certification since October 2022, and the new guidelines were meant to be released in April 2023. The new requirements give CDFIs more time to finalize their applications. They also allow CDFIs to produce “balloon mortgages” — where initial payments start small and grow over time — if crafted “responsibly.” The Independent Community Bankers of America released a statement about the new guidelines, saying “We remain concerned with provisions that would restrict access to credit for certain populations, especially those in rural areas or in need of small-dollar products.”

At COP 28, Member Countries Agree To Move Away From Fossil Fuels by 2030

At the COP28 summit in the United Arab Emirates, which concluded on Tuesday, countries in attendance agreed for the first time to transition away from fossil fuels with the goal of reaching net zero by 2030, Grist reports. The 21-page agreement also comes with a promise to triple renewable energy deployment and reduce methane emissions by 2030. But the final agreement also lacks investments to back up the goals or to help countries adapt to climate disasters. The agreement comes after fear (based on leaked emails) that the COP 28 president Sultan Al Jaber would use the summit to make fossil fuel deals. The agreement still allows for the use of fossil fuels for some time, according to Time.

MTA Releases Largest Update to Queens Bus Plan in 70 Years

One New York City borough will see the largest change to its bus network since the 1950s, according to a new plan released by the MTA on Tuesday. Queens has the highest number of bus riders and bus routes of any New York City borough, the agency says, serving 800,000 people with 115 routes. The plan would create 15 new routes and eliminate 10 existing routes. The MTA claims that the full plan would mean 200,000 riders no longer have to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus on certain routes. The plan also reduces the number of bus stops, which the MTA says would lead to faster service. While it’s true that dropping routes can speed up service, it can also leave some bus riders traveling longer distances by foot, sometimes in unsafe conditions.

Curated by Deonna Anderson


  • Gen Z and millennials are visiting libraries more often than older generations, according to research from the American Library Association. NBC News

  • In the Atlanta Metro area, a tiny home village (almost) sells out. Southern Urbanism

  • Salt Lake City is getting new residential zoning rules in an effort to spur affordable housing construction. KUER

    • Related: Is the U.S. becoming a country of YIMBYs? CNN

  • Black people are moving to the South for a better quality of life. But that also means they’re moving “toward the epicenter of climate disasters.” Capital B


  • The Midwest Transportation Landscape Assessment, a new report from The Funders Network, examines how advocates are working to transform the transportation system, and how philanthropy is supporting those efforts. Access the report here.

  • The California Endowment began its impact investing journey about a decade ago. In a new report, the organization shares its learnings from the last 10 years of doing this work. Access the report here.


  • The American Institute of Architects will be livestreaming its 100th Presidential Inauguration. Next City Vanguard Alum Kimberly Dowdell is the first Black woman to fill the position in the organization’s 166-year history. Friday, December 15 at 7:15pm Eastern. Join the livestream on LinkedIn!

    • ICYMI: Kimberly Dowdell was a panelist during one of our Solutions of the Year events. Watch the conversation about the future of community development and design here.

  • Be on the lookout for 2024 webinars from Next City on our events page!

This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: philadelphiabuilt environmentseattlebusesunionscdfisemissions

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