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Community Progress regularly posts to this blog on a range of related topics to help communities across the country turn vacant spaces into vibrant places. Please check back regularly, and sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news directly in your inbox.

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Transforming Cleveland Vacant Lots into an Urban Farm
August 29, 2023
Transforming Cleveland Vacant Lots into an Urban Farm

How the Cuyahoga Land Bank and a community activist worked together to transform a block one property at a time.

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Explaining the Cycle of Systemic Vacancy
August 24, 2023
Explaining the Cycle of Systemic Vacancy

Systemic vacancy is the community experience of widespread property vacancy caused by the combined actions of people, policies, and processes.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Land Banks in Michigan
August 17, 2023
Celebrating 20 Years of Land Banks in Michigan

In 2023, Michigan land banks mark two important milestones: 20 years since the passage of Michigan’s Land Bank Fast Track Act and incorporation of the 50th land bank in the state.

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Vacant Land is More Than a Single Lot—it’s a System.
August 10, 2023
Vacant Land is More Than a Single Lot—it’s a System.

Conceptualizing vacant land as a system makes it possible to identify where strategic interventions can push the system toward different, more desirable outcomes.

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Creative Placemaking in Braddock, Pennsylvania
July 31, 2023
Creative Placemaking in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Community leaders in Braddock, North Braddock, and East Pittsburgh are creatively reactivating vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties.

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Lessons from 2023 VAD Academy: Systemic Racism is a Root Cause of Vacant Properties
July 20, 2023
Lessons from 2023 VAD Academy: Systemic Racism is a Root Cause of Vacant Properties

The key lesson from this year’s VAD Academy: systemic racism is a root cause of vacant, abandoned, deteriorated properties.

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Creación de espacios creativos en Loíza (Puerto Rico)
June 22, 2023
Creación de espacios creativos en Loíza (Puerto Rico)

A principios de marzo, los cohortes de la Beca de Revitalización Comunitaria (CRF) 2022-23 viajaron a Loíza, Puerto Rico, para su segundo intercambio de aprendizaje. Estos intercambios…

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Creative Placemaking in Loíza, Puerto Rico
June 22, 2023
Creative Placemaking in Loíza, Puerto Rico

As part of the Community Revitalization Fellowship, fellows from Loíza, Puerto Rico shared the creative placemaking working happening in their community.

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What is a Land Bank?
June 15, 2023
What is a Land Bank?

A land bank is a public entity with unique powers to put vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties back to productive use according to community goals.

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What Causes “Urban Prairies” in Shrinking Cities?
June 13, 2023
What Causes “Urban Prairies” in Shrinking Cities?

As cities shrink, once-urban land becomes available for other uses or reverts to nature, leading to the phenomenon of “urban prairies.”

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What is a Brownfield?

Brownfield properties, often referred to as “brownfields,” are properties where the presence or potential presence of hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant makes redevelopment challenging and costly.

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What is the Neighborhood Revitalization and Land Banking Act?

The bipartisan bill is an important step in giving rural, urban, and suburban communities the tools to address “blighted” properties. The key focus of the bill is providing support to land banks, a tool many communities are adopting to support economic and neighborhood revitalization.  

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The Problem with Calling Neighborhoods with Vacant Properties “Blighted” 

Blight is a shorthand term many people use to refer to properties they perceive as problematic in some way.

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How Vacant and Abandoned Buildings Affect the Community

Vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties—referred to by some as “blighted properties”—pose significant costs to public health, property values, local taxpayers, and more.

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What Can Neighbors Do about Vacant Buildings and Lots?

When neighbors come together, they can be a powerful voice for community revitalization.

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What is Code Enforcement?

Code enforcement from A to Z: when it works, when it doesn’t, and how local governments can make code enforcement systems more fair for all.

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What’s the Deal with Rural Land Banks? A Q&A with West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation Executive Director Taylor Bennett

Land banks can help rural communities deal with vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated properties.

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How to Prevent and Reduce Illegal Dumping

Cities spend millions each year cleaning up illegal dumping. What if they tried to make vacant lots less appealing to dumping in the first place?

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Tips for a Successful Session Proposal for the 2024 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference

How to write a session proposal for the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference that will get noticed.

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New Study Shows Land Bank Ownership of Vacant Lots Can Reduce Violent Crime

A vacant lot owned and cared for by a land bank sees a greater decrease in crime compared to privately owned lots, finds 2023 study in Flint, MI.

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