Blight or urban decay is an issue that negatively impacts communities across the country. Jacksonville, Florida, states, “Blight is a drag on community energy, a siphon on city vitality, and a strong deterrent to economic investment. It can be a source of despair or cynicism for people who have witnessed the decline of a particular building or neighborhood over time.” In recent years communities have developed multiple innovative strategies to fight blight. Below are just a few of those strategies.
Phoenix, Arizona: Mobile App
In 2010 the Alliance for Innovation reported that Phoenix, Arizona, would be the first local government to release an app, MyPhxAz, which enables residents to report blight and other code violations to the city. Even after six years MyPhxAz is still helping citizens and local leaders address blight issues. Learn More
New Orleans, Louisiana: Skilled Volunteers
John Stephens explained during Episode 1 of Local Gov Life how skilled volunteers working for the Code for America in local brigades can positively impact communities. New Orleans, Louisiana, is a great example of this. Local leaders and citizens were having trouble tracking the status of post-Katrina blight projects. The city partnered with Code for America to develop a web application that makes it easy for anyone to look up any address in New Orleans and see a property’s history and future development. Learn More
Mobile, Alabama: Instagram
Mobile, Alabama, was having trouble collecting and organizing blight data and records. Staff weren’t aware of exactly how many blighted properties Mobile had. In looking for a cost-effective and efficient solution, staff turned to Instagram to assess Mobile’s blight situation and to start to develop solutions. Learn More
Memphis, Tennessee: Blueprint to Eliminate Blight
After identifying that their current strategies for fighting blight were not effective, staff in Memphis, Tennessee, created a comprehensive blight elimination charter to ensure everyone is on the same page when fighting local blight. The 17-page charter demands collaboration from any organization working on blight issues within the county. Learn More
If you interested in learning more, make sure you attend the Solution Track Session “Transforming Blighted Communities” during the 102nd ICMA Annual Conference in Kansa City, Missouri.