Memphis's Four-Point Plan to Eliminate Blight
In May, community institutions in Memphis will host a two-day intensive "academy" on strategies to reduce blight for housing and code enforcement officials from around the country. The summit will share progress made since city leaders and organizations adopted a Blight Elimination Charter—the first in the nation—in 2016.
"At least 9,500 single-family houses, 4,500 apartment units, and thousands of vacant lots in the city are blighted," writes Urban Institute fellow Joseph Schilling in How Housing Matters. The city's action plan centers on bringing these properties up to code, and is organized around four basic principles: data and information, community partnerships, code enforcement, and a "reclamation, reuse, and revitalization" approach.
One product of the plan to date is the Memphis Property Hub, an inventory of blighted properties in the city that includes data from multiple public sources on the properties' location, ownership, and economic impact. In 2015, Memphis launched a program that offers credits to residents for maintaining vacant properties, which can be applied to their purchase.