The chronic problem is complicated by ownership issues, says Catherine Lucey. Various city agencies own only 25% of the properties. Some of the remaining 75% go to public auction, but many are left to decay.
Mayor Michael Nutter's administration has employed anti-blight programs to combat the problem with minimal success but is also considering models from other cities, Lucey writes:
"One example that has been heralded is in Genesee County, Mich., home to Flint, where the government set up a land bank that takes control of abandoned and tax-foreclosed properties and decides the best use - be it to sell the property to a developer, to give it to a community group or to maintain the land itself."