This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties — and how communities are transforming these properties into assets. (The headlines are for informational purposes only; inclusion does not indicate endorsement.) If you’d like to get this round-up in your inbox, join our email list!
‘Build more housing’ is no match for inequality“Because land in superstar cities and tech hubs is so expensive to begin with, upzoning tends to create even more expensive condominium towers. ‘While building more affordable housing in core agglomerations would accommodate more people,” the authors note, ‘the collapse of the urban wage premium for less-educated workers means that the extra housing would mostly attract additional skilled workers.'” Richard Florida | CityLab | May 9, 2019
Gentrification got gentrified “The three new studies emphasize the need for us to keep two ideas in our heads at once: Gentrification is real and is sometimes accompanied by displacement. But most neighborhoods are either rich and getting richer, or they are just getting poorer (mostly the second). ” Henry Grabar | Slate | May 3, 2019
Pushing Opportunity Zones to fulfill their promise “To date, most discussion about Opportunity Zones (including guidance from the U.S. Treasury) has been geared toward investors and how they can benefit from the tax break. City leaders, however, must develop policy frameworks to ensure that the investments do what they were created to do: 1) alleviate poverty, 2) create jobs, and 3) support small and local business.”Chris Brown and Chris Schildt | Shelterforce | May 3, 2019
Op-Ed: The best way to rejuvenate rural America? Invest in cities “[I]n an economy where private investment flows to places with dense clusters of prized assets, the best rural policy may be supporting the development of small and midsize cities across the country, improving rural residents’ access to jobs, customers, training programs and small-business financing.”Amy Liu and Nathan Arnosti | The New York Times | April 23, 2019
SF rent registry could cost up to $3.6 million per year“‘Cost increases could be offset by passing them through to landlords by increasing the annual fees and limiting the amount of the free increase that landlords could pass on to tenants[.]'” Adam Brinklow | Curbed San Francisco | May 13, 2019
Too many empty homes in San Jose? There could be a penalty tax for that“‘Housing prices are impacted by supply, and if there are thousands of homes that sit unused, even a fraction of that becoming available will have a real impact on prices,’ [Huy] Tran said. ‘We are looking at these ideas because we are in a housing crisis, and that requires us to put all solutions on the table and figure out what makes sense.'”Grace Hase | San Jose Spotlight | May 9, 2019
New homes to be built on 30 empty lots“The single-family homes will be built on city-owned lots acquired through the Blight Elimination Program (BEP) — a statewide program that allows Indiana municipalities and communities to demolish blighted properties and offer a variety of end uses for the newly cleared properties, including green space and redevelopment.” Quentin Blount | Pharos Tribune | May 1, 2019
And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!
Community members paint murals on vacant buildings“‘The Corner Canvas program is a great example of how local partners can come together to transform vacant properties into something positive,’ said Adam Zaranko, Executive Director of the Albany County Land Bank.” Muneib Chater | WNYT 13 | May 12, 2019