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Re: “City of blight

Nice article Thomas,the fallout from the housing bubble has littered my neighborhood with vacant houses and the answers are not simple or easy.Much of the problem stems from the fact that there is no incentive to maintain and/or redevelop derelict houses;the homes next door to me and across the street were condemned years ago,the signs are faded,one roof has caved in.There was a time when the city would demolish a condemned house and put a lien on the property for the cost of the demolition-when and why did that stop?It is a perverse and counter-intuitive thing that as property values have risen the numbers of vacant and derelict homes have also.Developers purchase the vacant lots and build there because it is cheaper and easier than redeveloping or demolishing the derelict homes.This doubly degrades the neighborhood as green space disappears and derelict homes multiply.Until the objective is shifted from "growing the $$$ tax base"to growing the community-by doing things like enforcing/strengthening the tree ordinance,following up on condemned houses and following the recommendations of the NPUs I don't think any of this will change.One of the driving forces is the fact that some of those gentrifying the old neighborhoods would rather have a vacant house with an absentee owner than have people of modest means living next door to them.The perversity of viewing your home as an investment vehicle rather than an integrated and responsible part of your village has lots of bad results-and I don't claim to know how to change that other than by changing hearts and minds,pointing up the true meaning of things like"cost" and "wealth".Good writing can do that-thanks for yours.

Posted by Anonymous on 04/11/2010 at 7:50 AM

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