Tackling Vacancy and Abandonment

Strategies and Impacts after the Great Recession

Author(s): Edited by Center for Community Progress

This edited volume was jointly produced by the Center for Community Progress, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

More than 10 years have passed since the Great Recession and the residential foreclosure crisis it unleashed. This crisis caused millions of Americans to lose their homes, leaving many neighborhoods with concentrated vacancy, disinvestment, and erosion of their local social fabric. In the aftermath of this crisis, researchers, practitioners, and organizations like the Center for Community Progress set to work analyzing vacancy interventions and shaping redevelopment strategies to stabilize neighborhoods.

Lessons from the Great Recession can help us assess and manage vacancy and abandonment in the uncertain times we now face in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and its eventual aftermath. The pandemic has thrown existing inequities—particularly racial inequities—into stark relief, striking Black and Brown communities hardest in terms of both the impact of the disease and a shattered economic footing. Making the recovery from COVID-19 inclusive and equitable will require community leaders to understand the strategies deployed to address the last crisis and their impacts.

Tackling Vacancy and Abandonment: Strategies and Impacts after the Great Recession is a new edited volume from the Center for Community Progress and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Cleveland that captures many of these efforts for practitioners, advocates, political leaders, and researchers looking to better understand the dynamics of vacancy and abandonment. It contains 12 articles by national experts in the field of neighborhood revitalization, including scholars from Georgia State University, the University of Michigan, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and the University of Utah, and practitioners from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Reinvestment Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, the National Community Stabilization Trust, and the Center for Community Progress.

Tackling Vacancy and Abandonment: Strategies and Impacts after the Great Recession contains the following twelve articles:

  1. The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Vacant Properties as a Public Issue by Alan Mallach
  2. The Battle of the Belts: Comparing Housing Vacancy in Larger Metros in the Sun Belt and the Rust Belt since the Mortgage Crisis, 2012 to 2019 by Austin Harrison and Dan Immergluck
  3. Detroit’s Tax Foreclosure Problem by Margaret Dewar
  4. People without Homes, Homes without People: Abandoned Properties as Opportunities for Affordable Housing in the Post-Disaster Reconstruction Environment by Ivis García and Luis Gallardo
  5. Does a Nonprofit ‘First Look’ Program Promote Neighborhood Stabilization? Examining Outcomes for REO Sales in Florida by Andrew Jakabovics and David Sanchez
  6. Developing and Implementing Property Remediation Strategies in Urban and Rural Communities in the Lehigh Valley: A Case Study of Bethlehem and Northampton County, Pennsylvania by Emily Dowdall and Ira Goldstein
  7. Ohio Land Banking 2009–2021: From Legislation to Operation by Gus Frangos
  8. Approaches to Rural Property Vacancy in Law and Policy by Ann M. Eisenberg
  9. Land Banks and Community Land Trusts: Emerging Partners for a Resilient and Equitable Recovery by Kim Graziani
  10. Building Resilience: Leveraging Innovative Partnerships and Low-Cost Capital to Meet Affordable Single-Family Housing Needs by John O’Callaghan and Mandy Eidson
  11. Resident Engagement in Vacant Lot Greening: Empowering Communities for Neighborhood Revitalization by Laney A. Rupp, Alison R. Grodzinski, Evaine K. Sing, Bernadette C. Hohl, and Marc A. Zimmerman
  12. Next Steps by Frank S. Alexander

We hope you find this collection useful and thought-provoking, and that it encourages new efforts to promote neighborhood revitalization and mitigate the negative effects of vacant and abandoned properties.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: September 2021

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