10.28.2011

Making Something out of Nothing in the City



It was nice to see our vacant land report from last year get mentioned by Mayor Nutter in his press conference earlier this week about cracking down on owners of run-down properties. The analytics of our report were pretty complex but the narrative, and the public policy ramifications, are quite simple: vacant land imposes a steep cost on City government and on residents of the City. Although real estate markets are still on edge, there's still developers and homebuyers out there, so it makes sense for the City to do what it can to make it easier for dilapidated buildings to get converted into nice new homes. (Here's one example in Bella Vista, courtesy of Naked Philly.)

It has always been depressing for me, ever since I first arrived in Philadelphia 20 years ago, to see block after block and property after property of blight, abandonment, and emptiness. But the City is now replete with dynamic examples of turnaround. And all those vacant parcels that are left are assets in someone's eyes, who sees the possibility and is willing to make it reality. Kudos to the City for stepping up to make this happen more.

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