Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 13, 2015

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This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and problem 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!)

Corn Hill Landing in Rochester, New York (Credit: Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress,  2014)

Corn Hill Landing in Rochester, New York (Credit: Jen Leonard for the Center for Community Progress, 2014)


New platform connects designers working in “legacy” cities“The Legacy City Design Network connects professionals working in legacy cities, shares successfully designed and implemented projects, hosts gatherings, advocates for innovative design, and develops new solutions through research and pilot project collaborations.” Toni Griffin | Next City  | March 4, 2015

A New Life for Dead Malls“Developers have had to get creative when it comes to salvaging America’s failing shopping centers, turning them into hospitals, churches, and even parks.’” Alana Semuels | City Lab | March 9, 2015


Editorial: Armed with new data, quickly knock down blight“Gary has cleared a big hurdle in putting a number on the vast extent of blight in the city, but that’s just the first hurdle.” Doug Ross | nwitimes.com | March 1, 2015


The new geographers: How Detroiters are mapping a better future for the city“For a city with well-known technological limitations, the portal is a major first step in its effort to modernize its technological infrastructure and develop a culture of transparency.” Kat Hartman | Model D Media  | March 10, 2015

New ideas to revive empty lots“Vacant land is one of Detroit’s greatest liabilities, or its greatest opportunity — depending on whom you ask.” Jennifer Chambers | The Detroit News  | March 9, 2015

How Wayne State Police helped breathe life into a blighted Detroit strip“But those who live and work in the area also point to a more unusual catalyst: the Wayne State University police department, which has become the primary security force in Midtown.” Stacey Cowley | New York Times | February 25, 2015

New York

Zombie homes stalk county neighborhoods
“’If the banks that own the homes or that are foreclosing on the homes were held responsible for maintenance while the foreclosure is going on, it would simplify life not only for residents but for the communities that have to put resources into them,’ said Carroll.”
Meaghan M. McDermott | Democrat and Chronicle | March 9, 2015


Editorial: Much blight put to flight
“But the success of DeWine’s program is best measured not in units razed, but in the momentum it has created for communities to continue ridding themselves of these dangerous eyesores.”
Editorial | Columbus Dispatch | March 6, 2015

Land bank adds to mission as houses restored to glory“‘The land bank is not about the vacant, abandoned house. It is about the well-maintained and well-cared house or home on either side of the vacant, abandoned house whose owners, because of no fault of their own, see the values of their properties decline as these vacant homes pop up in their neighborhood,’ Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.” Mark Reiter | Toledo Blade | March 2, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

Fruit tree in New Orleans (Credit: Jill G, 2014)

Fruit tree in New Orleans (Credit: Jill G, 2014)

Developing food security in post-Katrina New Orleans, one lot at a time
““By transforming vacant lots into productive orchards, David Young helps mobilise communities in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward suffering from a lack of access to healthy and affordable food after Hurricane Katrina.”
Aurora Percannella | The Guardian | March 4, 2014