This is high-rent blight.
The vacancy problem is immediately visible but lacking in hard data. The intent of this project is to provide some background around commercial vacancies and use a map to give some insight into the extent of the issue, ideally doubling as a tool for community groups and policymakers to identify areas for intervention.
It's an obvious problem without a clear set of causes or solutions, but there are several contributing factors [...] — vacantnewyork.com
Los Angeles wants to rethink its river. [...] And LA isn’t the only metropolis looking to reclaim its once-mocked waterway. Cities around the world are realizing that water can be a cultural and recreational asset, not something to hide or pillage, and it seems no waterway will be wasted for long. — wired.com
Heading east along I-94 from Detroit’s resurgent Midtown area, two massive structures loom on the horizon. For passing drivers, they’re awe-inducing symbols of both the city’s former industrial might and the dismaying scale of its post-industrial challenges. [...]
At the Center for Community Progress’ May Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference, planners and developers discussed examples from around the world of cities that are finding opportunity in derelict industrial properties. — nextcity.org
When Lord Rogers launched a campaign to save one of London’s most notorious housing estates from demolition, he was adamant that it was a desirable place to live. [...]
It is a claim he may regret. Unhappy residents of the estate have challenged the peer to be true to his word and swap his £12 million Chelsea townhouse for a few nights in one of their blighted flats. — telegraph.co.uk
But how to draw the distinction between unauthorized graffiti and murals? Late last year, city officials issued thousands of dollars worth of fines before admitting they couldn't tell the difference between vandalism and authorized artwork (they eventually dismissed the fines). To correct this, Castañeda-López says the city is working on the seemingly Herculean task of creating a registry for all Detroit's existing street art. — metrotimes.com
In Detroit, the American Dream has become an American Paradox: Corporate-backed revitalization downtown belies the continued deterioration of sprawling neighborhoods of single-family homes; [...] white newcomers trickle in by choice, just as many black natives have no choice but to stay where they are.
What’s that? It doesn’t sound like the up-from-the-ashes, post-industrial renaissance Detroit you’ve been hearing about of late? — Columbia Journalism Review
Developed with the help of a team of volunteer researchers, urban planners and designers, this new online tool allows anyone to view the staggering amount of publicly-owned lots that once had an urban renewal plan in the pipeline but were scrapped due to bureaucracy. By mapping out all of the vacant spaces across the city, 596 hopes that we as a community can take a top-down approach to turning these urban blights into public gardens, play lots, and spaces where people can “co-create.” — 6sqft
From 1949-1974 NYC took on an urban renewal project that resulted in the bulldozing of "slums" across Manhattan. The vast majority of the proposals planned for the land floundered and today nearly 15,000 lots across the city lay vacant. 596 Acres, a grassroots land access nonprofit, had developed...
Grassroots, place-based arts initiatives got a boost yesterday when the artist Rick Lowe was named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. Earlier this week, I profiled Lowe’s dynamic approach to arts-driven revitalization in “Street Makeover: Artists Bring Visibility to a Low-Lit Alley.” Lowe is currently working as a multi-year resident of the Pearl Street Project, an alleyway transformation launched by Philadelphia’s Asian Arts Initiative. — nextcity.org
On a breezy summer afternoon here in the newly renovated Sanayeh Garden, children are climbing the monkey bars, pedaling on bikes and kicking a ball by the huge water fountain in the park’s center. [...]
While this would be an ordinary scene in Paris, New York or Singapore, it’s practically a new invention for today’s residents of Beirut. Functional public parks have been virtually nonexistent here for decades. — citiscope.org
A Motor City Mapping app will make it possible for users to snap photos of properties and text them to the public database. (They are trying to brand a new word to describe this process — the awful-sounding “blexting.”) These will be quality-checked before going onto the database, and the hope is that users will participate in training sessions before pointing, clicking and sending. Several “blexting bootcamps,” will be held in coming weeks. — nextcity.org
Urban blight is the single biggest challenge to large-scale revitalization efforts underway in the city of Detroit, where roughly 84,000 properties and vacant lots are considered blighted or at risk of blight [...].
In an interview with DLA Piper attorney and ULI member Jay Hailey, Gilbert kicked off the Institute’s public/private partnership conference in Detroit. — Urban Land Institute
The Wall Street Journal calls this "Fighting Urban Blight With Art". Liz Thomas, the curator of the project, calls it "an experience that asks people to think about this space that they hurtle through every day".
The project is not actually fighting blight, of course - only the ability of Amtrak customers to see it. — Al Jazeera
As a result of the violence, the local real estate market has bottomed out. Those who flee the city usually can’t sell their homes and businesses, so more and more buildings, including some of Tampico’s largest and most impressive ones, lie abandoned. Buildings that could easily survive for another century are mere empty shells, with huge trees growing through the roofs and out of the windows. Such levels of abandonment are rarely seen in the centre of a major city. — theguardian.com
Shivihah Smith’s East Baltimore neighborhood, where he lives with his mother and grandmother, is disappearing. The block one over is gone. A dozen rowhouses on an adjacent block were removed one afternoon last year. [...]
For the Smiths, the bulldozing of city blocks is a source of anguish. But for Baltimore, as for a number of American cities in the Northeast and Midwest that have lost big chunks of their population, it is increasingly regarded as a path to salvation. — nytimes.com
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