Detroit's Vacant Properties Strategy Explained
John Gallagher reports on Detroit's ongoing efforts to recreate neighborhoods beset by massive numbers of vacant and blighted properties.
Gallagher identifies Mayor Mike Duggan as the driver of the actions taken by the Detroit Land Bank Authority, and why:
"The essence of Mayor Mike Duggan's policy on Detroit's vacant land is to put as much of it as he can in the hands of residents. Pushed to declare his preferences for the city's tens of thousands of vacant lots, Duggan has repeatedly deferred to the neighborhoods themselves to decide new uses."
Gallagher offers the vital statistics on the Detroit Land Bank's activities: its portfolios have swelled from a few hundred to about 90,000 in the space of just over a year. One in four properties in the city are now working through the land bank's program. Also of note is a recently announced program to lease vacant lots to residents for $25 a year per lot. One condition of the lease program, according to Gallagher: "A local block club would have to bless the intended use as compatible with neighborhood norms."
The article goes on to list a few of the innovations included in the Detroit Future City strategic plan, including incentives for blue infrastructure, urban reforestation, distributed energy production, and urban agriculture.