Thanks for the note! I answer your questions below. One overall comment: this is an expansion of a project/school that's already successful and profitable, with a proven model and product. I've already taught 100 students, with demand far beyond what I can currently supply.
For anyone who's interested: I'll be teaching the next cohorts of The Foundations of New York soon! It's an accelerated introduction into NYC government/law that also touches on dependencies at the state and federal levels. Class begins in mid-April and goes through May.
I don't really have any recommendations for low investment / high impact, just high investment / high impact. I think the nature of the problem "get people to do what is required in local government to reduce NIMBY power" inherently requires a lot of effort to do well. And the pre-requisite is educating people. That's why one of the keystones of Maximum New York is my class, The Foundations of New York.
In general, I think it's relatively easy to get people to show up to civic/government things if they really understand how the government works, the organizer keeps the environment chill/fun, and each individual can connect showing up to concrete longer term change. (This is part of what I call the "buddies and pals" theory of political change. It works!)
But the hard work that precedes this easy option is actually educating people to a pretty high level, at which point they possess the psychological capability of being intrinsically interested in government. You don't really have to force them to do anything at that point, they'll want to.
As far as organizing something in Philly: I don't know the particulars of its governmental structure and relationship to Harrisburg as well as NYC/Albany. If I wanted to get a group together in Philly, I'd first find a cool story of relatively recent, impressive change that's occurred in that system, and then write a post that says something like "let's do this again, good change is possible!" That grounds the meetup with a concrete example of good change, and gives people something to grip as they ascend the education cliff, which I think is vital to civic motivation. (And political pedagogy is its own separate challenge for instructors and civic group leaders.)
NYC Housing policy is at a turning point:
The American political system is far more functional than most people would guess, particularly when you zoom in to various states and cities. New York City and State are seemingly on the cusp of a housing policy revolution, and there's no better time to get into politics here if you value housing abundance.
An NYC with lifted growth controls would be transformational, and I think most people are sleeping on it. I wrote the case for New York housing optimism here. The past month has been truly remarkable, and more people need to know about it.
I'm Daniel Golliher, the founder of Maximum New York; my goal is to change New York City (and state) politics/law so that it can grow quickly and build things again--housing and transit chiefly, but not exclusively. Allowing NYC to grow again would have profound impacts around the country and world, and its growth drove immense progress in the past. We can have that again. I also work to make sure people understand how functional our current governmental system actually is. One of the keystones to MNY is my class, The Foundations of New York. Most people are stuck in a cold-start trap with regard to learning about effective political work, and I fix that by providing a rigorous introduction to NYC government, law, and politics. My goal is to bring more minds online to work in the political arena. MNY is about a year old, but already has some great results. You can find me on Twitter here--looking forward to meeting more of you.