The Cost of Vacant and Blighted Properties in Pittsburgh: A Conservative Analysis of Service, Tax Delinquency, and Spillover Costs

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The “Most Livable City,” the “Most Affordable City,” “One of the Best Cities for Young Families.” These are just a few of the accolades conferred in 2016 on the City of Pittsburgh. Across the country, many see Pittsburgh as the “comeback kid” of rust belt cities, and have watched with great interest as the smoky, steel industrial city of the past transforms into a more green, resilient city of the future. The Pittsburgh of today is focused on new industries, like technology, health services, and education, to support exciting and fresh cultural and economic opportunities. Despite losing half of its population over the last 70 years, Pittsburgh is finally growing again, and Pittsburghers retain a profound sense of pride, strength, and activism. But as with any transformation of this scale, the massive changes taking place across Pittsburgh and the region, coupled with significant urban renewal projects, have had an inequitable impact on neighborhoods across Pittsburgh – an impact that has only exacerbated the effects of decades of disinvestment in neighborhoods.