Tag Archives: vacant homes

How Michigan can fight blight in urban areas: Join us for a live chat | MLive.com

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FLINT, MI — Michigan has received approval to spend $100 million in federal funds to demolish thousands of vacant homes in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Saginaw.

So how will this affect those communities, as well as the state of Michigan? How is blight eroding your urban neighborhood?

At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 18, MLive-Flint Journal will host a live chat in the comments of this post on blight issues with local legislators, officials and a representative from MSHDA.

via How Michigan can fight blight in urban areas: Join us for a live chat | MLive.com.

New San Francisco legislation will jump-start urban farming | Grist

Bay Area locavores and caterpillars rejoice: An edible urban jungle is poised to sprout in San Francisco.

City supervisors approved legislation Tuesday that will help grassroots farming groups replace barren concrete and forests of weeds on vacant land and rooftops with veggie gardens, chicken coops, and honeybee hives. And the move cements San Francisco’s role as a national leader in urban food production.

“[San Franciscans] are thought of as foodies, and environmentalists,” said Laura Tam, a policy director at the nonprofit San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), which helped push the new rules forward. “This is a marrying of our sustainability objectives with the reputation that we have in the world.”

The legislation [PDF] follows zoning changes last year that made it easier to operate small farms and legal to sell food grown in San Francisco. This new set of laws will take it further by removing additional bureaucratic barriers for hopeful gardeners and actively searching for land they can use while providing them with seeds, tools, and advice.

A major focus of the bill is community gardening — neighbors coming together to organize, till, and cultivate plots of land in mini-farms that are managed cooperatively.

Aided by $120,000 in city funding in its first year, the Urban Agriculture Program will hire a city official or nonprofit organization to oversee all community gardening within San Francisco. The city’s utility agency will also provide additional funds to support two farms on land that it owns.

The program will audit city-owned land and rooftops in a quest to dig up potential new public gardening sites. It will also develop incentives for owners of vacant lots to allow their land to be used for community farming.

Passage of the bill follows a rise in popularity of urban farming nationally, which has been fueled by the locavore and organic food movements, and by the recession, which has left lots vacant and families hungry.

Continue reading New San Francisco legislation will jump-start urban farming | Grist

Consumer advocate: Why use almost all the city’s share of mortgage settlement on demolition? – baltimoresun.com

Should Baltimore spend almost all the $10 million it’s getting from the nationwide mortgage settlement on demolishing vacant homes?

That’s the city’s plan. Marceline White questions the wisdom of that idea.

White, executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition and a Bolton Hill resident, wonders why the city isn’t instead putting a sizable chunk of the money toward rehabbing, adding to the stock of livable homes and hopefully also the number of city residents.

“I live in the city — I would certainly like to see more people come into the city,” White said. “It’s better for the city, it’s better for neighborhoods, it’s better for the tax base. … Rather than tearing down neighborhoods, why not try to restore neighborhoods?”

This speaks to a long-running debate that readers have had here: knock down or rebuild?

Continue reading Consumer advocate: Why use almost all the city’s share of mortgage settlement on demolition? – baltimoresun.com