Blight: Quick Facts

Blight is the process through which a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair. It negatively impacts communities by increasing infrastructure costs, posing safety and environmental hazards, demoralizing communities, and slowing economic development.

Negative impacts of blight:

  • Increases costs due to fire risks and crime, requiring public service spending (police and fire)
    • Studies have shown blocks with unsecured vacant structures can have twice the number of drug, theft, and violent crime calls to emergency officials
    • More than 70% of fires in vacant structures are arson or suspected arson
  • Poses environmental, health, and safety hazards
    • Can pose direct safety risk to neighboring properties
    • Unsecured structures attract more trespassers
    • Vacant buildings also pose much higher risks for emergency personal such as pits, opens shafts, and other unknown hazards; NFPA estimates that nationwide over 6,000 firefighters are injured every year in vacant and abandoned building fires
  • Reduces tax revenue from depressed property values
    • Burned out homes can reduce neighboring property values by 25%
  • Drains local infrastructure resources (road, sidewalk, and utility maintenance)
    • Although demolishing structures saves cities money on maintenance and safety costs, rehabilitating structures can save the city 35% more money in maintenance and safety over twenty years
  • Slows local economic development
  • Reduces available commercial and industrial properties
  • Detracts potential entrepreneurs and developers
  • Increasing insurance premiums for adjacent property owners
  • Demoralizes communities

Eliminating blight through redevelopment can:

  • Turn community health and safety liabilities into community assets
  • Create new, local jobs
  • Increase property values
  • Enhance economic/tax base development
  • Improve economic vitality
  • Support sustainable use of land and greenfield preservation
  • Prevent urban sprawl and decreases civil infrastructure costs
  • Rehabilitation retains community identity through the architectural fabric
  • Eliminate eyesores

For ideas and resources to help prevent blight in your community, visit our preventing blight resources page.