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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.
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.