Community Progress Blog

Download America’s Vacant Lot Landscape: Insights from the National Survey on Greening

Written by on December 10, 2020

How are vacant lots evolving in the United States? What strategies do professionals consider most effective at returning purpose to these properties? What have practitioners learned in the last several years that other municipalities and organizations can benefit from? And what do organizations still need to do this work effectively?   Download this 2020 release from the…

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Your Support Means [Community] Progress

Written by on May 5, 2020

#GivingTuesdayNow 6 Ways Your Support Helps Create Community Progress  For more than 10 years, the Center for Community Progress has helped America’s highest-need communities respond to the challenges of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. From addressing the unjust policies and impacts of America’s past to raising our voice in response to community needs today, our work helps neighborhoods…

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Problem to Purpose: The Drug Activity Answer for One Lansing Neighborhood, Get Creative

Written by on April 21, 2020

Empty lots are open opportunities – for safety threats or community innovation. Pegasus Garden, located in the Prospect PLACE neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan, is a great example of what happens when communities choose option two. Jennifer Grau, a Prospect PLACE neighborhood resident, said the garden was created out of a need to find a use…

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Problem to Purpose: Placemaking Brings Community Healing for Residents Impacted by Substance Abuse

Written by on April 14, 2020

Today’s opioid epidemic has become “the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. On average, 10 Pennsylvanians lose their lives to a substance abuse disorder each day. Hinge Collective principals, Alexa Bosse and Ari Miller, are working to find new ways to fight Philadelphia’s challenge through a creative placemaking solution…

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Community Development Is Crucial in This Moment

Written by on April 6, 2020

The pandemic is highlighting the crucial necessity of community developers’ work. Here’s what the field will need to play its part in the recovery.  One month ago, when I began the first draft of this article, the world was drastically different. Well before we became part of this new reality, I felt an urgency to reflect…

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A Love Letter to the Next Decade of Community Development (from Shelterforce)  

Written by on April 3, 2020

I’m in love. When you wake up every day knowing that what you do helps improve people’s lives and where they live, it’s one of the best feelings on earth. After witnessing years of hollow promises from political and business leaders who promised to “make communities better,” I get a deep satisfaction from being a…

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Problem to Purpose: From Landlord Neglect to a Circus for Youth

Written by on March 24, 2020

Newburgh’s Creative Solutions to the Vacancy and Deterioration Challenge Kids flying through the air on isn’t uncommon in one community north of New York City. There, residents and leaders converted a vacant lot owned by a negligent landlord into what’s known today at the Zip Zap Circus — a circus for social change that works…

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Problem to Purpose: Indiana Teens Recycle to Turnaround Vacant Lots

Written by on March 17, 2020

Tired-A-Lot Transforms Vacant Properties While Creating Youth Volunteerism Teaching teens to give back can yield more than positive values and great character; it can help change a neighborhood. Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern University show there are positive connections between youth volunteerism, health, and academics. One hybrid group of local officials from the Zoning Land Use…

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Power of Placemaking – What Vacancy Victories from Massachusetts, New York, and California Taught Us

Written by on February 18, 2020

From increased fire outbreaks to elevated safety concerns, there’s no secret property vacancy can weigh down a community. But, how can communities lift themselves up? What are the keys to turning a vacant lot or building into an asset? The answers may vary for each community (and we’re here if you need help with your…

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Problem to Purpose: From Gas Station to Food Station, Solving Insecurity through Creative Placemaking

Written by on February 18, 2020

According to a 2017 study, a whopping 48 percent of Detroit households are “food insecure.” This means that nearly 30,000 Detroit residents experience hurdles when trying to access to quality and affordable food options. How are residents tackling the challenge? One group, Hope Community (Cool Cities) Park, is tackling food insecurity through bringing options closer to…

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