urban blight

Families & Community
5:57 am
Mon June 2, 2014

New Flint church seeks to save a neighborhood

The leader of Flint’s newest church is pledging to care as much about what’s happening outside the walls of the previously abandoned Northside church as about what’s happening inside.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s newest church has an unusual mission.

Its goal is to save the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Community Impact Church held its first Sunday service yesterday in a formally abandoned church. The church is surrounded by abandoned homes, blight, and vacant lots filled with weeds.

Pastor Corey James says his Allen Park-based ministry decided to set up in one of Flint’s more distressed northside neighborhoods for a reason: To help people rebuild their neighborhood.

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Politics & Government
12:51 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Detroit starts posting legal notices in new fight vs. blight

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit has started posting legal notices on 79 abandoned homes in one city neighborhood, warning homeowners to clean up the property--or risk a lawsuit, and the city seizing the home.

The effort in the west side neighborhood near Marygrove College was announced Wednesday afternoon by Mayor Mike Duggan, in what he called a "bold experiment" to fight blight.

It will work like this: once a notice is posted, homeowners have 72 hours to contact the city and arrange to sign a consent agreement. It will stipulate that the homeowner clean up the property, and move someone into the house within 60 days.

If that doesn't happen, the city can sue to have the Detroit Land Bank Authority seize the house. The Land Bank will then re-sell properties it deems "salvageable" at auction.

“When you leave your house abandoned, it is a nuisance to the neighborhood," Duggan said. "And you cannot legally leave your property in a way that’s a nuisance.

"I'm going to give every single person when we sue them the choice—either sign the court order to get it fixed up and occupied, or we’re going to take title.”

Duggan said it will be "fascinating" to see how the program plays out in the Marygrove neighborhood effort plays out over the next 90 days--but that plans are already in the works to expand it to other neighborhoods.

Duggan said represents a shift away from the "mindless demolition" approach to blight eradication--though many homes that are simply unsalvageable will have to be demolished. “If we take down the houses that can’t be saved, and we sell what’s left…I think people will value that," Duggan said.

Lola Holton, a 39-year resident of the neighborhood, said she's ready to see "results."

"I'm very, very excited about having community back," Holton said. "That's what we need. We've lost that. 

"Not only the restoration and taking boards down, but putting families in these houses. To build community."

 

Stateside
5:26 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Turning urban wasteland into productive green space in Detroit

Empty lot on Piquette Avenue in Detroit where the Studebaker Plant once stood.
Andrew Jameson Wikimedia Commons

One of Detroit’s many great challenges could also turn out to be a great opportunity to figure out how we might imagine big cities that are more liveable, more walkable, more sustainable.

One of the challenges in Detroit is what to do with large parcels of empty land that are abandoned and unpaved.

Joshua Newell sees those parcels as something that can hold the key to a better American city. He's an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.

Listen to his ideas below:


Economy
3:09 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Look at this interactive map for insight into one of Detroit's biggest problems

You can see how Detroit developed over time with this map. The pink parcels are the oldest, the blue a little newer, and the green are the newest.
screengrab of Loveland Technologies' WDWOT map.

The blighted buildings in Detroit have been a major stumbling block for decades.

How do you start revitalizing a city when so much of it is crumbling?

Current estimates put the number of abandoned buildings at somewhere between 78,000 and 90,000, but that's a guess. Nobody really knows the true number.

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Politics & Government
3:12 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Blighted property survey nearing completion in Detroit

Detroit, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Surveys have been completed on about two-thirds of all structures in Detroit as part of a project to eradicate blight in the city.

The Detroit Blight Removal Task Force is on track to complete its database of 380,217 structures and vacant parcels in February. The project hopes to determine the number of blighted and deteriorating structures in Detroit.

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Politics & Government
6:53 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

New mayor's plans include speedier house demolitions in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Mayor-elect Mike Duggan says he wants to reduce the time it takes to tear down vacant houses as part of his plan to revitalize distressed Detroit neighborhoods.

The Detroit News reports that Duggan also told about 50 people attending the ARISE Detroit! annual breakfast Saturday that between state and federal programs designed to attack blight "there is more than enough money" available to transform the city.

The former Detroit Medical Center chief was elected in November and will take over as mayor in January.

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Politics & Government
4:05 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Blight Task Force to count every land parcel in Detroit

Urban Prairie, Detroit
Credit Jtmichcock at the English language Wikipedia Commons

The condition of every land parcel in Detroit will be surveyed beginning this week.  The hope is to complete the survey in eight weeks, according to Glenda Price, a member of Detroit's federally-appointed Blight Task Force. The task force was established this past October.

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