Community Progress Blog

The state of land banks in 2015: An interview with Frank Alexander

Written by on June 30, 2015

The second edition of Land Banks and Land Banking, the ground-breaking book by Frank S. Alexander, was released earlier this month. It builds on the legacy of the 2011 first edition with fresh insights and resources for practitioners and policy-makers. With about 120 land banks and land banking programs now located around the country, we spoke with…

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Supreme Court’s fair housing ruling could boost true neighborhood revitalization

Written by on June 26, 2015

Cross-posted from Next City, this article is one of a ten-part series inspired by the 2015 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference. In what’s being widely hailed as a gigantic victory for civil rights law, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday to uphold the use of disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. The much-debated theory of disparate impact centers around…

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A 341-page blight-fighting plan requires a lot of teamwork

Written by on June 23, 2015

Cross-posted from Next City, this article is one of a ten-part series inspired by the 2015 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference. Three hundred and forty-one pages and 235.5 megabytes. That’s the length and size of the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force plan, published last year. Based on a survey of the city’s 380,000 parcels, the task force found some 85,000…

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Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – June 19, 2015

Written by on June 19, 2015

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! National A…

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Today’s land bank boom could lead to the extinction of land banks

Written by on June 19, 2015

Cross-posted from Next City, this article is one of a ten-part series inspired by the 2015 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference. Frank Alexander wasn’t expecting his book, Land Banks and Land Banking, to wind up so big. “In 2010, when we created the Center for Community Progress one of the reasons we did so, Dan Kildee and I, is [because] we…

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How Detroit Taught Itself to Demolish Vacant Houses Safely

Written by on June 12, 2015

Cross-posted from Next City, this article is one of a ten-part series inspired by the 2015 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference. “It kind of used to be like the Wild West a few years ago,” Regina Royan recalls, thinking back on how buildings were being demolished in Detroit prior to 2014. The old norms, she says, lacked oversight. “We realized…

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On East Side of Detroit, managing vacant land takes collaboration

Written by on June 4, 2015

Cross-posted from Next City, this article is one of a ten-part series inspired by the 2015 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference. The verdure of spring is on full display in Detroit — but so, too, are the challenges of maintaining open land in a fiscally challenged city where over 30 percent of all parcels are vacant.…

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Why cities need to get smarter about property taxes

Written by on June 4, 2015

Cross-posted from Next City, this article is one of a ten-part series inspired by the 2015 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference. With property taxes accounting for up to 75 percent of local government revenue, everything depends on getting them right. It’s the pool of funds we depend upon to support everything from infrastructure to schools to trash pick-up.…

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Climate Change: It Does Change Everything

Written by on June 1, 2015

Tarik Abdelazim serves as the Associate Director of National Technical Assistance for Community Progress. From 2010 to 2014, I served as Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development for the City of Binghamton, a city of about 48,000 in upstate New York that shares all the historical scars and future potential of other small former…

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