Behind the Scenes of Philly's New Land Bank Law

In Philadelphia, an alliance of unusual suspects worked together to convince the city to create the land bank. The law isn't perfect but the new land bank will significantly improve the city’s vacant property process.

1 minute read

February 2, 2014, 5:00 AM PST

By info@may8consu…


Philadelphia is about to become the largest city in the country with a land bank.

A land bank is a nonprofit or government agency whose sole function is to efficiently maintain, clear title to, assemble, and market vacant property in order to transfer it to responsible new owners for productive reuse. On December 12, 2013, after many years of organizing, negotiating, and compromising, the Philadelphia City Council finally passed an ordinance establishing one for the city. Mayor Michael Nutter signed the law on January 11, 2014, calling it “the start of a new era in Philadelphia.” City Council President Darrell Clarke told the large crowd of advocates at the signing ceremony, “I hear you. The city will get properties back online.”

This article describes the collaboration and compromise that caused this achievement and charts out next steps.

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