Vacant and severely blighted properties pose significant barriers to neighborhood revitalization and disrupt economic development efforts. Demolition of problem properties is one tool that can be used to assist communities in removing blight and improve properties’ reuse potential.
Greater Ohio Policy Center has been on the forefront of this issue, providing technical assistance on strategic demolition and related activities through the Ohio Attorney General’s Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program, as well as state policy work through GOPC’s Healthy Properties, Rebuilding Communities Initiative.
This past spring, GOPC organized, co-hosted, and contributed to the “Making Demolition Work: Practices, Revitalization Strategies and Policies” Roundtable. Participants from all over Ohio and other states discussed current demolition practices, costs of and resources for demolition, the impact and strategic use of demolition in cities and neighborhoods to further reuse and revitalization, and the policy and regulatory context of demolition. The Roundtable informed the scope and content of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program report by Non-Resident Senior Fellow and GOPC collaborator, Alan Mallach: “Laying the Groundwork for Change: Demolition, Urban Strategy, and Policy Reform.”
The report looks at demolition in the framework of larger community stabilization and revitalization strategies, issuing recommendations for how to undertake demolition in the most cost-effective and productive fashion. Several important themes emerged from the roundtable and the report:
The roundtable, report, and ongoing dialogue provide essential stepping stones toward addressing the vacant and abandoned property crisis through strategic demolition. While demolition of vacant buildings is only one strategy to stabilizing and revitalizing neighborhoods, it can be a vital step toward a larger redevelopment plan and leveraging the market.