Close-up of mobile phone with Airbnb and VRBO app icons.

Running Rampant: How Short-Term Rentals Impact Communities With Loose Restrictions

Brendan O’Brien, author of “Homesick,” talks with us about his new book and what he's learned about the effects of short-term rentals in communities like Flagstaff, Arizona; Bozeman, Montana; and St. George, Utah.

February 28, 2024 - Shelterforce Magazine

View of Austin, Texas skyline with river in foreground during morning golden hour.

Texas Cities’ Office Vacancy Rates Close to Double New York, San Francisco

A glut of office buildings in the pro-development state is leading to some of the highest vacancy rates in the country, even as population growth spikes.

October 10, 2023 - The Wall Street Journal

Vacant grassy lot with some cemet debris in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Mayor Proposes Vacant Lot Tax

A new tax plan would reform the city’s famously low vacancy tax rates in an effort to stimulate more housing development and limit speculation.

June 11, 2023 - Urbanize Detroit

Community garden in Chicago, Illinois with view of city skyline

How Abandoned Properties Can Be Used for Redevelopment

Abandoned properties can be a burden on a community, bringing everything from negative curb appeal to an increase in crime. Using these properties for positive community development can kill two birds with one stone.

July 7, 2022 - Devin Partida

Vacant Properties

The Vacancy Myth

Is the existence of vacant apartments an excuse not to build new housing?

February 10, 2020 - Michael Lewyn

Hotel Alexandra

Why Are These Prime Boston Properties Sitting Vacant?

Even though they often occupy valuable real estate, some Boston properties have sat vacant in various states of limbo for years.

July 2, 2019 - The Boston Globe

South Lake Union

Seattle Landlords Scrambling to Fill Growing Number of Empty Apartments

Vacancy rates are up to 7.5 percent in greater Seattle, and many landlords are offering deals like a month's free rent.

July 1, 2018 - The Seattle Times

Texas Suburb

Study: There's a Lot of Vacant Land in Texas Cities

All that empty acreage means that these big, rapidly developing cities don’t really have to sprawl.

June 11, 2018 - CommercialCafe

Amazon Fresh Truck

Amazon Weakening Communities and Local Governments, Report Finds

Amazon is placeless. The company doesn't have a physical presence, create jobs, or pay taxes in most of the places where it does business — and it's having a profound impact on the health of cities and towns, a new report finds.

December 13, 2016 - Institute for Local Self-Reliance

The Emotional Landscape of Vacancy

Vacancy has left parts of the Midwest shattered, resulting in an insecurity which invokes a diluted "fight or flight" response. Restoring the psychological landscape of cities is a difficult, but essential, first step, says Richey Piiparinen.

August 10, 2011 - Rust Wire

Shrinkage Moving Too Slowly in Rust Belt Town

Rust Belt poster child Youngstown, Ohio made waves almost a decade ago with its revolutionary plan for "controlled shrinkage." But progress has been slow in a political system still wired for growth.

July 5, 2011 - Streetsblog Capitol Hill

America's New Ghost Towns

Depopulation and empty houses are creating modern day ghost towns throughout America. This piece introduces the latest class of emptying areas.

April 7, 2011 - 24/7 Wall St.

Vacancy, It's Not Just For Cities Anymore

Thanks to the National Vacant Properties Campaign for another important conference on vacant properties - this time in Louisville.  I was duly impressed with the first conference on the subject a year and a half ago but what struck me this time was the growing diversity of voices concerned with the issue. At the last conference, I (and I assume many others) had the feeling that it was a therapy session of sorts for like-minded spirits.  "Older industrial" cities were sharing information and ideas because, while all cities are unique, we share a lot of the same challenges.  

June 8, 2009 - Scott Page

Emptiness in Beijing After Olympic Building Boom

The 2008 Summer Olympics brought a boom of construction to host city Beijing. But now, six months later, much of the office space built in the lead up to the games sits empty -- and likely will for years.

February 24, 2009 - Los Angeles Times

An unheralded conference

I had the opportunity to spend a day at the Vacant Properties conference late last month which, if you’re not familiar with the “movement,” you should be.  Granted it’s not for everyone.  At the opening plenary session, the moderator asked “who is here from a weak market city?”  A room full of hands went up with a collective giggle.  It felt like an AA meeting for cities.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward addressing it.   

October 23, 2007 - Scott Page

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Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.