The Need

Historically speaking, land banking is a relatively new concept.

Cain Park Tennis Courts, 1945 May Day at Brookside Park, early 1900s Wade Park Avenue bridge, Rockefeller Park, early 1900s Monumental Park, 1876 Bathing at Gordon Park beach, early 1900s Euclid Beach Park, early 1900s Downtown Akron, 1941 Family picnic at North Chagrin Reservation, 1953 Ice skating on Strawberry Lane Pond, 1978 Irish Cultural Garden inauguration, 1933 Czech Cultural Garden tree planting, 1943 Children at Sunset Pond, 1971

It first emerged in the 1960s as an urban planning tool. Over the past two decades, land banking has become an increasingly important tool for cities challenged by vacant and abandoned properties.

 

Many urban industrial centers throughout the nation were built for populations that simply were either never achieved or that were abandoned due to sprawl. In August 2011, the nation's banks, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had an inventory of more than 816,000 foreclosed properties on their books, all waiting for buyers. An additional 800,000 properties were in the midst of the foreclosure process.1 While in this foreclosure process, homes are left vacant.

Vacancy at Home

Cleveland has an infrastructure of homes and other services that was designed to service one million residents. In 2011, Cleveland is home to about 390,000 residents, most of whom are poor. Those who own homes often feel trapped.

 

Vacant properties are a blight and they accelerate community disinvestment. In a nutshell, vacant properties:

 

1Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2011, "Banks turn to demolition of foreclosed properties to ease housing-market pressures"
iNational Fire Protection Association. (2002) "New Tool Ready To Combat Arson Vacant & Abandoned Buildings Targeted". Found online at: Urban Report
iiSpelman, William (1993) "Abandoned Buildings: Magnets for Crime?" Journal of Criminal Justice 21(5): 481-495.