How Overdevelopment Threatens "Everybody’s Hometown": Keep Media Green. Is It Too Late for Newtown? | Newtown News of Interest |

Concerned [Media, PA] community members say Media runs the risk of losing its hometown flavor. They say suburban sprawl and unchecked development is upending green space, causing housing prices to skyrocket, and making the borough less racially and economically diverse.


Areas of tree cover and homes of varying sizes have been replaced with even larger luxury homes, said resident Julie Smith, who has a background in environmental science. Local wildlife species have been displaced, she said, and the lack of trees and greenery is causing flooding to intensify and leading to the formation of sinkholes — her neighbor fell into one a few months ago, she added.


“I can’t remember how many … square acres of open space is left, and every last bit of it is vulnerable at the moment because of developers coming in. And they seem to be very well represented at council meetings, and very little seems to be able to be done to challenge them to help preserve the integrity of our town,” Smith said.


What About Affordable Housing?


Some residents of Media say the housing market there is far from affordable. According to the real estate website Zillow, the typical home price in the Media area is more than $476,000 — an 11.1% increase since 2020, as home prices surge throughout the Philadelphia region. In 2012, the typical home value was $305,000.


U.S. Census data from 2000 showed that 14% of Media’s residents were Black. By 2010, that number had plummeted to just 10%. As of 2019, only 6% of the population was Black.


Tamara Graham comes from a long line of Black residents of Media. “We’ve always been here. And we’ve always done pretty much our own thing. We’ve been generally self-sufficient through segregation — through the whole nine yards of it,” Graham said.


Although she grew up walking near creeks and hiking along the neighborhood trails, she said those opportunities are shrinking for her children’s generation.


Though it may not be the sole reason, Graham believes overdevelopment and green space loss is contributing to the lack of affordable housing and the decreasing Black population in Media.


Borough Council President Hall said he is sympathetic to the concerns about housing affordability…“One thing that I’ve learned about local government is this: It’s designed to go slowly. It doesn’t go slowly because we want it to go slowly. It goes slowly because we need input from our residents. It’s designed to get input from residents in a way that will maximize people’s opportunity to speak with us,” Hall said.


But some believe elected leaders are sitting on their hands as the pressures of overdevelopment squeeze the community.