Blight into Beauty One Chain Link Fence at a Time

The mayor of Imperial Beach, California has made it his mission to clean up neighborhoods by tearing down one rusty chain-link fence at a time. He is partnering with nonprofit organizations, such as one that uses sustainable construction techniques to create affordable homes, community centers, creative gathering spaces and other structures out of trash and recyclables, to develop abandoned sites into useful gathering places for the community. Click here for the full story.

Vacant Home Tour Changes Conversation around Vacancy

This article provides a more in-depth look at Wilkinsburg, PA’s innovative vacant property tour program. The program tells the story of several vacant homes and businesses, reminding visitors of the rich history of the neighborhood, and inviting participants to view properties as opportunities instead of liabilities. Click here to read the in-depth interview with the project proponents on what it took to pull it off.

Paducah, Kentucky Attracts Artists to Rehab Homes

Artists from all over America started coming in 2000 to buy and restore homes in Lowertown, Paducah, Kentucky’s oldest — and most blighted – neighborhood. The neighborhood is now home to more than 70 artists, thanks to the city’s artist relocation program which was made possible with the help of a locally owned bank that willing to take a chance on this untested idea. Click here for the full story.

“Artists are the kind of folks who see what can be,” Barnett said. “They see potential, and we knew that was what it was going to take when they came in to see the neighborhood in its current condition.”

Missed it? Access the Webinar Recording: A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

Check out the webinar video here. It’s free. 

This highly visual 45-minute webinar presents research findings and proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide agencies or local governments towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. Participants will walk away with an understanding about how to leverage digital engagement to achieve unprecedented results using cost-effective tools.

This session features special guests from the City of Abbotsford, BC talking about Abbotsforward, one of the most innovative and successful Official Community Planning projects we’ve ever seen. They are online to talk about the innovative ways they combined online and targeted face to face community engagement to involve over 8,000 community members in the creation of a plan for Abbotsford, BC. They also share advice for agencies seeking to improve the breadth and effectiveness of their community engagement efforts and talk about the positive difference that broad community support is making in their implementation process.

Learning Outcomes

  • What to look for when selecting online engagement tools for planning projects,
  • How to design a fast and effective online experience,
  • How to collect meaningful public feedback that is directly usable in planning documents,
  • How to promote online participation,
  • How to leverage mobile, touchscreen kiosks and other technologies effectively, and
  • How to leverage social networking tools strategically.

Who Should View This

  • Planning project leaders & staff,
  • Public Information Officers, and
  • Outreach and engagement personnel.

Tiny Houses Built on Vacant Property Serve Homeless Veterans

In Kansas City, MO, military veterans started a program to build tiny houses on vacant land for struggling and homeless veterans. They formed a nonprofit organization and acquired the property from the Kansas City Land Bank. To build and equip each house costs an estimated $10,000.

“The good news is veteran homelessness is declining thanks to programs like this one.”

Click here for the full story.

Webinar: A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement

Check out this upcoming webinar! This highly visual 45-minute webinar will present research findings and proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide agencies towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. The webinar is free and will take place June 14 from 1:00 – 1:45 pm. Spots are limited so click here to register now!

Vacant Home Tours Showcase Property Potential

Wilkinsburg, PA, a community just outside Pittsburgh, is attempting to address blight by creating a tour of vacant homes to increase their appeal by explaining their history, suggesting potential reuses, and offering workshops about vacant property acquisition and property rehabilitation.

“We get a lot of complaints from residents…they want to know how they could go about acquiring the vacant home next door, or if it can be demolished, or what is available for people to deal with vacancy and blight in their neighborhood,” said Marlee Gallagher, co-coordinator of the tour.

Click here for the full story.

Inspiration: Urban Art Initiative to Raise Awareness by Illuminating Vacant Buildings

A regional public art installation meant to raise awareness of urban blight is in the works in New York state.

The project, called Breathing Lights, will illuminate hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, New York nightly in October and November 2016 – aiming to shed light on the issues and regenerate interest in city neighborhoods that currently have high vacancy rates.

The idea for this project, conceptualized by a local artist and architect, was supported by an up to $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Public Art Challenge initiative.

Click here for the full story.