A Reason to Love Urban Green Space: It Fights Crime

A new body of evidence reflects how urban nature affects crime.

The field of research is still young, but recent studies found significant associations between green space maintenance and certain types of crime in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Youngstown, Ohio. The exact mechanism is not yet known, but one theory relates to Jane Jacobs’ notion of “eyes on the street”: well-kept lawns and community plots encourage more people to spend time outside in those spaces, leading to a greater degree of informal surveillance of the area and deterring crime.

This research gives cities reasons to reassess policies about cleaning and greening vacant lots, developing parks, or catching stormwater in green installations. Beyond the ecological and aesthetic benefits, these investments create a safer environment for the people who live nearby. Click here for the full story.

BAD Buildings on Camera: Fairmont’s 4-Part Video Series

WVBOY in Fairmont, WV recently filmed a four-part video and article series featuring the city’s efforts to address abandoned and dilapidated buildings. The series features perspectives from the volunteer BAD Buildings team, private owners, private developers, deconstruction contractors, and local banks, who each offers solutions to remove blight from their streets. A volunteer-led survey of the city’s 9 square miles by the BAD Buildings team yielded an inventory of over 300 abandoned or dilapidated buildings, and the group is now focused on prioritizing 70 structures in a target neighborhood. Click on the images below to view each video in the series.

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Property Rescue Workshop in Buckhannon this Friday!

The Property Rescue Initiative (PRI) is a program of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) that provides $1 million in loan funding for communities to remove or rehabilitate dilapidated buildings.

This Friday, April 1, Buckhannon will host the final installment of a series of PRI workshops in 2016 that will help interested parties access PRI funding and provide technical assistance for locals to address abandoned buildings in their communities. Register now as space is limited.

Anyone interested in accessing a portion of the PRI funding pool to address dilapidated buildings in their community is encouraged to attend.

The full day workshop will feature guest speakers, interactive sessions on stakeholder engagement and the BAD Buildings process, and a panel of experts who will discuss creative ways to repay loans and reuse problem properties. Registration is $15.

Connect with Communities Facing Similar Challenges through the Redevelopment Expert Exchange

Do you have a have a redevelopment success story to share with a fellow West Virginia community? Or, are you looking for a similar community to share lessons learned?

The Redevelopment Expert Exchange (RE2) facilitates redevelopment experience-sharing between West Virginia communities. The program matches redevelopment leaders from across the state with communities facing similar opportunities and challenges, allowing them to learn from the best practices and experiences of their peers across the state. RE2 is also offering a series of webinars throughout 2016 — we will keep you posted once they are announced.

Here are some example topics communities have exchanged:

  • Attracting developers
  • Engaging the media
  • Creating urban redevelopment authorities (URAs)
  • Establishing land reuse agencies
  • Structuring public-private partnerships

 

Read this success story about Wheeling’s successful Vacant Property Registration which they presented to Fairmont through an exchange facilitated by RE2.

re_2_logo_FINALTo learn more about how the WV Redevelopment Expert Exchange works or to request a match in your community, click here.

 

RE2 is a program of the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

Property Rescue Workshop in Beckley this Friday!

The Property Rescue Initiative (PRI) is a program of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund (WVHDF) that provides $1 million in loan funding for communities to remove or rehabilitate dilapidated buildings.

This Friday, March 18, Beckley will host the fourth in a series of PRI workshops in 2016 that will help interested parties access PRI funding and provide technical assistance for locals to address abandoned buildings in their communities. Register now as space is limited.

Anyone interested in accessing a portion of the PRI funding pool to address dilapidated buildings in their community is encouraged to attend.

The full day workshop will feature guest speakers, interactive sessions on stakeholder engagement and the BAD Buildings process, and a panel of experts who will discuss creative ways to repay loans and reuse problem properties. Registration is $15.

WVU Offers Legal Tools to Combat Blight

In case you missed it — the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at West Virginia University recently published a toolkit to help communities navigate the thorny issues around abandoned and neglected buildings. Click here for the background story. 

To explore the online legal toolkit, which is called “From Liability to Viability: A Legal Toolkit to Address Neglected Properties in West Virginia,” or to download a free PDF, visit the LEAP website.