Background and introduction
We didn’t set out to start a new cultural district, but it happened.
North 3rd Street has become home to a growing population of creative and technology businesses, as well as a variety of collaborative spaces and community initiatives. In the last few years alone, the area has seen growth beyond a handful of tech stalwarts to an increasingly connected community.
The “N3rd Street” (pronounced like "nerd") name for the area began as a colloquial nickname, used by community anchors, including Jarv.us in Northern Liberties and Indy Hall in Old City, but it has caught on as others in the community began to use the reference.
Today, “N3rd Street” is a household name in the technology community across Philadelphia, but the name also known and used by Mayor Michael Nutter, and Philadelphia Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid references “N3rd Street” when speaking about the innovation community in Philadelphia.
A cultural identity like N3rd Street is an important asset for Philadelphia. Just blocks from the site of historical icons like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, N3rd Street is literally the part of Philadelphia where America’s first nerd, Ben Franklin, would walk every day.
On N3rd Street, innovation respects our tradition and history, while our tradition and history do not fear innovation.
For Philadelphia to strengthen its case as a hub of innovation, N3rd Street works to set an example for how Philadelphia can strive not more like New York nor San Francisco, but instead a better version of itself.
N3rd Street is a melting pot of industries and interests, including but not limited to design nerds, art nerds, fashion nerds, technology nerds, startup nerds, food nerds, sustainability nerds, science nerds, game nerds, history nerds, and a whole lot more.
This urban setting mixes residential and commercial community members together, with mutual overlap and support. While commercial activity and businesses fuels a lot of the excitement around N3rd Street, many people who work here also live nearby. Unlike many business districts, N3rd Street’s creative population is often active and on the street, socializing and connecting in the area during and work hours, and stays late into the evening. N3rds don’t close up shop at 5pm (in fact, many are just getting started).
The N3rd Street community crosses neighborhood and council district boundaries - stretching through Old City and Northern Liberties. More importantly, N3rd Street doesn’t have fixed boundaries: it’s an identity and a set of values that we share, even more than is a physical place on a map.
The identity and values of N3rd Street are:
To improve the quality of the connections between the people who live, work, & play in the N3rd Street community; between each other, and the rest of Philadelphia.