Entries by Mark Leneker

Philadelphia anti-blight legislation back in action

September 26, 2018 | The Philadelphia Tribune By Jake Blumgart Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has given Philadelphia back its favorite blight-fighting tool. In a Sept. 13 ruling, state justices unanimously reaffirmed the city’s ability to force property owners to maintain the appearances of their vacant buildings, reversing a 2015 lower court ruling. The case centers on […]

City’s plan to battle blight leaves some neighborhoods out

September 24, 2018 | KCCI Des Moines TV By Chris Gothner Des Moines city leaders moved forward Monday on a multimillion-dollar plan to revitalize neighborhoods by busting blight, but only four neighborhoods are included. The Des Moines City Council unanimously approved a $4.6 million pilot program to make improvements to Oak Park/Highland Park, the Drake […]

Making the Case for America’s Middle Neighborhoods

September 24, 2018 | Next City By Kelly Regan, Next City and Stephanie Sung, The American Assembly, with research by Brianna Williams Today, nearly half of all residents of U.S. cities live in a middle neighborhood. It’s not a place where real estate is hot, where prices skyrocket and cause displacement. Nor is it a […]

Des Moines’ $4.5 million revitalization program limited to 4 neighborhoods

September 22, 2018 | Des Moines Register By Austin Cannon Des Moines plans to launch a $4.5 million pilot program to help neighborhoods buy nuisance properties, demolish decaying homes and make other revitalization improvements. The catch: It would only be available in four of the city’s 52 neighborhoods. That has some residents worried the program could further the […]

Next City Wants Your Op-Ed about Middle Neighborhoods

August 21, 2018 | Next City Next City and The American Assembly are soliciting op-eds about middle neighborhoods—Where are they? Why are they important? And what are the biggest obstacles to addressing their needs? If you are a resident, community organizer, practitioner, researcher or policymaker working to effect change in middle neighborhoods—and perhaps rewriting the playbook […]

The hidden costs of foreclosure: Stabilizing low-income Philadelphia neighborhoods helps us all

July 9, 2018 | The Philadelphia Inquirer By Elyse Cherry The foreclosure crisis may have eased across much of America, but it’s still a problem in lower-income communities, nationwide and particularly in Philadelphia. In 2017, Philadelphia had the third-highest foreclosure rate of metro areas in the United States at 1.26 percent, more than double the […]

Has urban renewal come at the cost of suburban decline?

June 8, 2018 | The Times-Picayune By Kevin Litten The magazine Governing published a report Friday (June 8) that examines the decline and neglect of urban “middle neighborhoods” — the highly diverse pockets of affordable housing where middle-class families have lived for decades. They are places where people often moved after other urban neighborhoods became […]

Tax on new construction advances despite Kenney concerns, scorching criticism from building trades

June 6, 2018 | The Philadelphia Inquirer By Julia Terruso A tax on new construction to fund affordable housing moved one step closer to passage Wednesday despite pressure from the city’s building trades to abandon the plan, concerns from the Kenney administration about its effect on businesses, and criticism from housing advocates who said the levy could […]