Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – October 23, 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!

Detroit (Credit: Luke Telander for Center for Community Progress,  2014)

Detroit (Credit: Luke Telander for Center for Community Progress, 2014)


The just city essays: Visions for urban equity, inclusivity and opportunity“The persistence of injustice in the world’s cities—dramatic inequality, unequal environmental burdens and risks, and uneven access to opportunity—demands a continued and reinvigorated search for ideas and solutions.” Toni L. Griffin, Ariella Cohen and David Maddox | Next City | October 19, 2015


Turning blight into urban gardens and homes “The farm’s founder, Steven DeCaprio, sees it as the first stage in a plan to bring a new type of farming and affordable housing to Oakland. […] The plan hinges on the use of so-called ‘tax-defaulted property.’” Eli Wolfe | East Bay Express | October 21, 2015


Wilmington City Council advances land bank proposal“Wilmington City Council will consider a resolution next month to create a land bank that officials hope will reduce the number of vacant and abandoned properties in the city.” Jenna Pizzi | Delaware Online | October 19, 2015


Gary seeks to turn blighted sites into rain gardens“An effort is underway in Gary to try to turn vacant properties into rain gardens that will help the city deal with its blight and stormwater management problems.” Associated Press | Chicago Times | October 11, 2015


Report touts rise in property values from blight demos“This new report is just the latest entry in a growing body of national research that supports the idea that blight removal pays off almost immediately in improved property values and even in crime reduction.” John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | October 9, 2015

Duggan announces first Motor City Match awards“’These are companies that will be renovating neighborhood buildings for their businesses, creating jobs and serving the community,’ Duggan said at the announcement ceremony in the city’s Old Redford district on the northwest side.” John Gallagher | Detroit Free Press | October 13, 2015

Detroit Land Bank program boosts vacant lot sales“’We didn’t know what this program would do,’ said Craig Fahle, DLBA director of public affairs. ‘Obviously, there was pent-up demand for residents to buy these lots. Hundreds of people have come to ask us if they could buy the vacant lot next door.’” Marti Benedetti | Crain’s Detroit Business | October 19, 2015

New Jersey

Atlantic County, home to sky-high foreclosure rate, tackles vacant homes“In an attempt to battle this problem and hold someone accountable for maintaining these locations, Atlantic County is pursuing a countywide registration program for abandoned properties.” Matt Gray | NJ.com | October 12, 2015

Foreclosures, blight still too familiar in many New Jersey cityscapesJoe Tyrrell | NJ Spotlight | October 20, 2015


Opinion: Considering the city: Fight blight!“To fight blight we must: initiate focused code enforcement, pass new ordinances to support code enforcement, and embrace creative homesteading options.” Lisa Austin and Sue Moyer | Erie Reader | October 14, 2015

Rhode Island

Providence reigniting war on blight“Armed with $3M loan fund and receivership powers, city aims to rehab 500-600 homes and create jobs” John Hill | Providence Journal  | October 13, 2015

EDITORIAL: Filling every home in Providence
“This month, we announced EveryHome, an innovative and historic initiative with a simple goal: Fixing or addressing every one of these vacant and abandoned homes.” Jorge Elorza | The Providence Journal | October 22, 2015

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

A flower farm blooms from an abandoned house in Detroit
“The ephemeral installation that filled an abandoned house with flowers last weekend was over before the blossoms had time to wilt, but it leaves behind the seeds of a plan to keep the property blooming for years.”
Kate Abbey-Lambertz | The Huffington Post | October 19, 2015