Can a Land Bank Help Dispose of Philadelphia's 40,000 Vacant Properties?

Seeking to stabilize healthy neighborhoods and revitalize others, Philadelphia is planning to establish a land bank to "consolidate its inventory of distressed real estate," reports Jon Hurdle. The plan could become a national model.

"Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, like those of some other older cities, are pockmarked with derelict buildings and overgrown lots that have been abandoned because of foreclosure, unemployment or the decline of manufacturing," observes Hurdle. "The vacant properties cost the city millions of dollars to maintain, and they reduce the tax revenue that could come with occupancy. About 75 percent are privately owned, officials say, and many of those are tax delinquent."

To address this drain on resources, Philadelphia will pursue a path cleared by cities such as Kansas City and Cleveland

"If Philadelphia’s proposed land bank succeeds, its scope will become an example for other cities, like Detroit and New Orleans, that are struggling with large numbers of vacant properties and multiple city agencies that are responsible for them, said Frank Alexander, a professor of real estate law at Emory University and an author of many land-bank laws in other cities."

"Advocates for land banks envision a variety of uses for the abandoned properties, including market-rate and affordable housing, commercial development, and open space," notes Hurdle.

Full Story: Philadelphia Raises Stakes With Plan to Reverse Blight

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95