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New web-based Toolkit offers practical strategies to transform blighted property to productive reuse

06/15/12

Free Community Progress resource allows users to drill down from global dynamics of blight and abandonment into practical solutions that meet communities’ unique local needs.


“Building American Cities Toolkit” creators will be on hand to discuss powerful new information resource at June 20-22 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference in New Orleans.


The Center for Community Progress has launched a major new web-based tool, the Building American Cities Toolkit, designed to help users drill down to practical solutions for vacant and abandoned property. Launched on June 15, the Toolkit has been developed by Community Progress Senior Fellow Alan Mallach, one of the nation’s leading experts and advocates in the legal and practical issues that communities confront in addressing abandoned property.
 
The Toolkit tackles critical local issues – dealing with problem property owners, building stronger neighborhoods, reusing vacant properties and taking control of and managing problem properties, among them.
 
The Toolkit’s content is structured to give users the opportunity to shift easily from global overviews of dynamics into hyper-local solutions that offer options for practical answers tailored to communities unique local needs. Mallach and other Community Progress senior staff will be on hand to share information about the Toolkit at Community Progress’ upcoming Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, scheduled for June 20-22 in New Orleans.
 
Enterprise Community Partners is supporting the project as a way to sharpen the practical understanding of the dynamics that drive abandonment and vacancy – and of the innovative solutions being applied across the nation to deal with these challenges.
 
“Enterprise is committed to supporting the creation of this Toolkit because the complexity of the property vacancy and abandonment issues facing cities demands thoughtful strategies that combine a variety of approaches,” says Rob Grossinger, Vice President of Community Revitalization for Enterprise Community Partners. “We also wanted to help bring Community Progress’ expertise to a much wider audience – something this project does today and will expand on going forward.”
 
Mallach has more than 40 years of experience in housing and community development policy issues, including strategies to support neighborhood revitalization, urban redevelopment and productive reuse of vacant and abandoned properties. His books range from the groundbreaking Bringing Buildings Back: Turning Abandoned Properties into Community Assets, to the recently published America's Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland, which points a path forward for post-industrial cities and towns looking to stabilize and reinvent their economies and their neighborhoods.
 
“We built this powerful web-based tool to help public officials, local leaders, stakeholders and residents learn about the myriad of options they have to confront the problem of vacant and abandoned property and pull upon the kinds of innovative strategies their peers are deploying across the nation,” says Community Progress Interim President Amy Hovey. “People need to know where to begin to grapple with these complex, interlocking issues – from code enforcement challenges to property reuse – and the Toolkit is designed to put essential information at their fingertips and empower users to make wise decisions about practical strategies that fit with local conditions.”
 
The Toolkit provides users with a variety of options to dive into a comprehensive knowledge base about the issues and solutions to targeted vacant and abandoned property issues – information threads that take users into cutting-edge case studies that showcase practical solutions on the ground. 
 
“Communities can be overwhelmed at how to begin in the effort to address vacant and abandoned property,” says Mallach. “The Toolkit surmounts these challenges by helping people move from the global issue to the specific dynamics they confront – and the practical solutions other communities with similar issues are deploying to transform their problems into opportunities for stabilization and revitalization.”
 
Check out the Toolkit on the Community Progress website at www.communityprogress.net.
 
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The Center for Community Progress works to create vibrant communities and improve the overall economic and social wellbeing of cities and towns in America through the reuse of vacant, abandoned, and problem properties. We serve as the national resource for policy, information, capacity building, and training regarding the redevelopment of vacant, abandoned, and problem properties; we partner with federal, state, and local officials and non-profit organizations that work to reposition these properties; we collaborate with experts on research that contributes to the growing body of public policy on successful reuse; and we serve as the leading national advocacy organization on effective reuse strategies. To learn more, call us at 877-542-4842 x150 or visit www.communityprogress.net.
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