Our impact spans the landscape of academic fields such as urban planning, policy, law, and public health while also working hand-in-hand to resolve problems with local officials and community leaders in cities across the country. Experts, policymakers and the media have turned to VPR Network’s publications, such as the national literature review on blight for objective analysis and strategic guidance. In Memphis, we helped local officials, nonprofits, and community members create the nation’s first blight charter.  Our work in Youngstown, Ohio redefines what strategic code enforcement means for smaller, older industrial legacy cities and expands the contours of this emerging practice. Collectively, our impact grows as our network grows and evolves as the vacant property movement evolves.

Our approach of networking learning focuses on what communities are doing right now to address vacancy and decline.  Effective vacant property reclamation requires a policy system that can become adaptive and resilient to change. In places recovering from neighborhood decline and blight, they rely on the interplay of three critical comments of a resilient policy system:

  • collaborative networks of public officials, nonprofits, businesses, and civic leaders, and community members;
  • real property information systems with data-driven actions, and
  • portfolio of strategic, responsive policy processes that prevent, abate, acquire, reclaim and reuse vacant properties.

As creative responses continue to emerge from pioneering cities—from Cleveland and Detroit to Memphis and Youngstown—the charge for the VPR Network is to facilitate the design and transfer of innovative policies and programs for reclaiming vacant and abandoned properties and for aligning neighborhood revitalization and city-wide regeneration plans and initiatives.