National Land Bank Network Launches with “State of Land Banks” Nationwide Research

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New Director Launches Survey and Interviews to Power New Funding Advocacy and  Online Education for Fighting Vacancy  

Washington, D.C. – March 9, 2021 – The Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), the nation’s leading resource on landing banking and vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties, announced today that Brian Larkin has been named its new Director of the National Land Bank Network who will immediately lead a nationwide research campaign on the “State of Land Banks” in this newly-created role. The campaign includes a new survey, interviews, and case studies on the needs and impact of America’s fastest-growing tools for fighting property vacancy.

“Land banks proved that they are a critical tool for addressing property vacancy on the ground in the wake of the Great Recession,” said Brian Larkin, Director of the National Land Bank Network at Community Progress.

“As we face the growing impacts of COVID-19, it’s critical to understand how a handful of entities have created a movement and become a go-to resource for addressing VAD properties in more than 200 communities.”

State of Land Banks Survey – 200+ Land Banks Share on Trends and Funding Needs

Since 2010, more than 200 land banks have been launched across the United States to acquire, maintain, and transfer vacant and abandoned buildings and lots. These governmental entities have helped transform neighborhoods in places like Detroit, Austin, and Charleston, West Virginia that face widespread vacancy stemming from economic changes, natural disasters, and other events.

The ten-minute State of Land Bank survey invites these Land Banks to share their impact, stories, and needs to provide a data benchmark to answer the growing question – How are land banks impacting America’s fight against Vacancy?

Landbank leaders and staff are invited to visit communityprogress.net/landbanksurvey to share stories on the successes, challenges, and funding needs.

What’s Next for Land Banks? New Director Shares Vision

In early 2021, the Center for Community Progress invested in growing the National Land Bank Network by hiring the Network’s first Director, Brian Larkin – a career community development leader whose experience includes helping nonprofits leverage millions of dollars for social impact programs and serving as a local government leader in his hometown of Flint, MI.

“The long-standing work of Community Progress has proven critical for ensuring communities and residents have the power to influence and protect their futures as economic and property needs change,” said Larkin. “Land banking, as a tool, is about more than responding to a problem. It’s a way forward for supporting a wide range of priorities from racial equity to economic development.”

The Network unites land bank leaders to share knowledge, network, and leverage their strengths to better inform policy change, strengthen land banking as a tool, and build a national community of practice. Since 2010, land banking has served as a core focus area for Community Progress who has published industry-leading publications including The Empty House Next Door: Understanding and Reducing Vacancy and Hypervacancy in the United States by Alan Mallach and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Take it to the Bank: How Land Banks Are Strengthening America’s Neighborhoods.

“The Great Recession proved that land banking is an innovative, impactful tool that should be in every community’s toolbox for protecting people and place together,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and CEO for Community Progress. “This Network is an opportunity to ensure all communities have access to the data, funding, and education required to fight displacement, preserve affordability, and prevent future vacancy.”

Land banks are invited to sign up for updates on the Network, membership, and to schedule an interview with the new Director at communityprogress.org/landbanksurvey.

About Brian Larkin, Director of the National Land Bank Network  

High functioning land banks ensure that the value the private markets fails to recognize can be unlocked for the benefit of all.” – Brian Larkin

Brian Larkin is Director of the National Land Bank Network at the Center for Community Progress, America’s non-profit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.”

A 20-year non-profit executive and local government leader, Larkin’s passion for community development was ignited at age 21 when he was appointed to serve as a neighborhood planner and vacant land program manager for his home community of Flint, Michigan, through LISC and AmericaCorp.

Since then, he’s served as a local government administrator and a program officer helping to build national community development strategies for improving resident quality of life. That work has included managing philanthropic efforts, programs, and partnerships for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (CS Mott), governors, local leaders, and midwestern land banks.

Larkin’s belief that “the built environment has a unique ability to transform lives” has guided his career focus and work. His diverse local government experience includes serving as Chief of Staff, Director of Planning and Development, and Director for local chambers of commerce in Genesee County and the City of Flint, Michigan. His unique perspectives and achievements have earned him recognition as a trainer, instructor, and public speaker for the American Planning Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and numerous universities including the University of Michigan and Florida State University.

Larkin is an alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and Florida State University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Planning, respectively. Larkin is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and has served his hometown as a member of the City of Flint Charter Review Commission (2015), the City of Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board (2015), and currently as the Vice President of the Flint Public Library Board of Trustees.

Today, Larkin leverages his experience as a local land banking and municipal planning leader to help more than 200 land banks connect with the education, funding, and networking to positively impact one of America’s fastest-growing community-development movements, the National Land Bank Network. The Network is a growing part of Community Progress’ commitment to growing strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods.

For media interviews and more information on the National Land Bank Network or the Center for Community Progress, email media@communityprogress.net or call (877) 542-4842 ext. 153.

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About the Center for Community Progress

Since 2010, the Center for Community Progress has helped more than 300 communities transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Through offices in Michigan and Washington, D.C., Community Progress works to create a future where all people live in strong, healthy, just communities where widespread vacant properties no longer exist. For more information visit www.communityprogress.net.