Monday, August 6, 2012

Buffalo = A Haven for Zombies

A new article from the Journal of Urban Affairs has taught me a new term : Zombie Properties. Pretty much just a creepy way to say vacant property. I am not sure what zombie-like characteristics these zombies really have. There doesn't seem to be any brain eating and there is definitely a possibilty that they could be brought back to life. More disconcerting than the term however is the fact that 1 in 10 properties in Buffalo are zombies. Maybe if urban planners could call themselves zombie hunters or something exciting like that, we'd see a host of folks flocking to SUNY-Buffalo's new Ph.D. in planning program.

Here's the article abstract:

Silverman, Yin, and Patterson. Dawn of the Dead City: An Exploratory Analysis of Vacant Address in Buffalo, NY 2008-2010 in the Jounral of Urban Affairs (12 Jul 2012)

ABSTRACT: This article examines residential vacancy patterns in Buffalo, NY, using data from a unique data set. It includes variables from HUD Aggregate USPS Administrative Data on Address Vacancies, the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates for 2005–2009, housing choice voucher (HCV) records of local public housing agencies, and municipal in rem property records. Multiple regression is used to identify significant relationships between vacancy patterns, socioeconomic characteristics, and institutional factors. The findings from this analysis suggest that the percent of vacant residential properties increases in census tracts with elevated poverty rates, higher percentages of renters receiving rental assistance, and long-term vacancies. They also suggest that the percent of abandoned residential properties increases in census tracts with highly concentrated black populations, elevated poverty rates, long-term vacancies, and higher percentages of business addresses. We conclude that these relationships are unique to older core cities experiencing systemic population and job losses. These cities struggle with a distinct type of long-term vacant and abandoned structures, which we label zombie properties. They can be contrasted with vacant and abandoned properties in transitional or regenerating areas. We offer recommendations for further analysis of zombie properties in these urban settings.

Jessie Owley

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