How Cities Are Stopping the Blight Contagion

Every city with neighborhoods in decline and a lack of demand for new investment is faced with the challenge of how to address blight. Each city's challenges are unique, but many are finding new and effective strategies to end the spread of blight.

May 28, 2015, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Emily Badger reports on novel techniques in cities around the country to combat blight—especially the creeping kind of blight that starts small and picks up momentum as it consumes whole blocks and neighborhoods.

Badger introduces a few examples of the blight reduction work from Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Jacksonville before providing in-depth analysis of work by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to clean newly empty lots and maintain exiting ones. "Today, it regularly maintains about 6,500 greened vacant lots, April through October (the program has also created a landscaping industry in the city from scratch). Another 2,100 lots receive care once a month from paid neighbors. Since the start of the program, about 700 lots have gone on to be redeveloped."

All that hard work in Philadelphia has produced a wealth of academic research, listed by Badger, on the benefits of blight reduction programs.

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