Baltimore's Strategic Ignorance of Its Abandoned Homes

Yepoka Yeebo reports on Baltimore's newest plan to deal with the tens of thousands of abandoned houses that mar the city.

Past efforts by Baltimore to raffle for $1, to demolish, and to refurbish the city's estimated 46,800 vacant houses and lots (16% of the city's housing stock) have proven unsuccessful. Now, the city it trying a new approach, ignoring most of them and focusing its limited funds on the most viable housing markets, writes Yeebo.

Yeebo spoke about the city's strategy change with Ira Goldstein, director of policy solutions at The Reinvestment Fund, who produced the assessment that Baltimore used to pinpoint stronger neighborhoods.

"'Too often, what we've done with the allocation of federal dollars cities get, is just find the poorest, most distressed place, and dump as much as you can in there, and see what happens,' he said. The results were weak, Goldstein explained, because the city would renovate houses no one wanted to buy. The money would be better-spent spurring interest in more attractive neighborhoods."

"As for the rest of the abandoned properties, where it can afford to, the city will still be dealing with the most dangerous structures. Eventually, the plan calls for demolishing the most distressed housing, and holding onto the land until there's scope for large-scale development," explains Yeebo.

Full Story: Baltimore Decides Some Neighborhoods Just Aren’t Worth Saving


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.