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Rightsizing a Community

We haven’t
mentioned rightsizing all year.  But since Mayor Byron Brown announced his
5 in 5 demolition plan in August of 2007, in which 5,000
structures would be demolished in 5 years, we still wonder what the plan is
regarding the footprints left behind as each house is demolished at a cost of
$16,000 or more.

Packet parks
and neighborhood gardens go only so far, and many lots are left to grow weeds.  There
are whole streets on the East Side where the houses left are so sparse, that
the feeling is that the only thing missing is the barn and cows, though one
couple was able to
farm this last year.

This article by Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for
Historic Preservation looks at the impact vacant houses have on a neighborhood,
while cautioning that patience and prudence must be used in planning the
removal of abandoned houses.

Moe writes: Plenty of other cities — from
Detroit and
Flint to Buffalo, Cleveland and Baltimore
— face the same challenge. Youngstown’s approach offers an instructive model
for these places, but it would be a mistake to see it as a one-size-fits-all
panacea. Youngstown is navigating uncharted waters, but at least it is taking
positive action. The alternative — doing nothing — is not a viable option. 

Those who
are interested in what our options might look like should read this 2008 report
from Joseph Schilling, associate director of the Green Regions
Initiative of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech University
Buffalo as the Nation’s First Living
Laboratory for Reclaiming Vacant Properties
.  The article cites Blueprint
, a report from the National Vacant Properties Campaign (Campaign)
and Local Initiatives Support Corporation — Buffalo (LISC-Buffalo) that
outlines a strategy to rebuild the Buffalo.

In the meanwhile, maybe a few more farms will sprout up.

Update:  See this Elizabeth Lunday article from the Urban Land Institute, Shrinking Cities, U.S.A.


Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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