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Thursday, March 5, 2009

New York Times covers the burden of abandoned homes

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The New York Times Magazine offers a full preview online of its profile about Tony Brancatelli, a Cleveland City Councilmember who's battling a problem currently plaguing Atlanta — what to do with the rows and rows of abandoned and foreclosed homes.

From the magazine:

Foreclosures are a problem all over the country now, but Cleveland got to this place a while ago. Cities, old and new, are looking at what’s occurring in Cleveland with some trepidation — and also looking for guidance. Already places as diverse as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis have neighborhoods where at least one of every five homes stands vacant. In states like California, Florida and Nevada, where many of the foreclosures have been newer housing, there is fear that with mounting unemployment and more people walking away from their property, houses will remain empty longer, with a greater likelihood that they will deteriorate or be vandalized. “There are neighborhoods around the country as bad as anything in Cleveland,” says Dan Immergluck, a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and an associate professor in the city and regional planning program at Georgia Tech. Local officials from other industrial cities have visited Cleveland to learn how it’s dealing with the devastation. “Cleveland is a bellwether,” Immergluck says. “It’s where other cities are heading because of the economic downturn.”

Immergluck, if you recall, wrote the eye-opening 2007 report (PDF) that concluded property values were rising faster along the southern half of the Beltline — Atlanta's 22-mile loop of parks, trails and transit — than the project's other areas. Both that report and the Times article are great and deserve a read.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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