Community Progress Blog

Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and problem properties – March 15, 2018

Written by on March 15, 2018

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!

Urban garden in Seattle, Washington. (Credit: Chris Christian, flickr, 2017) 


‘White flight’ remains a reality
“‘Residential economic integration may be slowly decoupling from residential racial integration with white residents,” writes Indiana University sociologist Samuel Kye. ‘Stereotypes and prejudice may persist, even despite the socioeconomic attainments of minority groups.'”
Tom Jacobs | Pacific Standard | March 6, 2018

A brief guide to ‘social impact partnerships’
“What social impact partnerships will look like on the ground will vary from place to place. Maybe wildly so. The act introduces a pool of federal support for local initiatives that promote certain social outcomes at a lower cost than the government is already paying. The result could be a new market for best practices in local government—although it may mean more private companies and faith-based organizations getting involved in basic social services.”
Kriston Capps | CityLab | February 15, 2018

Ben Carson removes “anti-discrimination” language from HUD mission statement
“Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is changing the mission statement of his agency, removing promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities.”
Amanda Terkel | HuffPost | March 6, 2018


Help solve Oakland’s homeless crisis
“‘Many of these properties are left vacant year after year, harming neighborhoods and the city. Vacant properties add to the blight to our neighborhoods, attract illegal dumping and deprive our community of the opportunity to have those vacant properties be used to house people and provide other productive uses,’ [Councilwoman Rebecca] Kaplan said.”
Post Staff | Oakland Post | February 11, 2018


Boston’s rich and poor neighborhoods show sidewalk repair disparity
“The divide between the haves and have-nots in Boston has always been stark, often measured by the quality of schools and the safety of streets. But a new city analysis underscores a basic disparity that is often overlooked, though it’s in plain sight: Residents in the city’s poorest neighborhoods — Roxbury, Mattapan, and parts of Dorchester — are much more likely to contend with buckled asphalt, cracking concrete, and tree roots smashing through their sidewalks.” 
Meghan E. Irons | Boston Globe | March 4, 2018

New York

Mapping all of the NYC lots sold for a dollar
“”For 596 Acres, which helps residents fight blight by turning vacant, public land into community gathering spaces and gardens, the land being sold off for such low prices is actually a ‘priceless resource.'” 
Rachel Dovey | Next City | March 6, 2018


Niles taking steps to demolish ex-school
“The building is a sore spot for the community not only because it is an example of blight, but also because the school district invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a new roof and windows the year before closing it, [Barry] Steffey said.”   
Jon Wysochanski | Tribune Chronicle | March 5, 2018


Can fighting blight prevent gun violence? 
“A new study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health tackles the more complicated (but no less important) social impacts of blight, with Philadelphia as its canvas. Its findings: Cleaning up distressed lots doesn’t just increase residents’ feelings of safety, it impacts their actual safety as well.” 
Rachel Dovey | Next City | March 2, 2018

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

(Credit: Lindsay Tuman)

See Me Grow cleaning up blighted properties 
“[Herman Donaldson’s] community garden is helping spruce up his neighborhood, and help an area without much access to fresh produce. ‘I gave broccoli away for a whole month and a half, or maybe two.’ An idea he hopes spreads throughout this community. ‘It’s not an eye sore, it’s only about the person who beholds it. So if you can get in there, you can make a beautiful area out of it.'”
Lindsay Tuman | WRDW 12 | March 5, 2018


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