Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally uploaded by Zakcq.
Do professors get together and figure out how to assign everything in the same week?

Actually it's not that bad, but I've still got more work due in the next week then I've had in the entire last month.

I've got a mid-term paper for Housing and Community Development where he wants to compare and contrast two different modes of housing creation/rehabilitation. I'm writing on Hope VI, since it's the only one that I've get any personal experience with along with a program from Baltimore called SCOPE (Selling City-Owned Property Efficiently).

SCOPE is pretty interesting. It's basically an Urban Homestead Act. The City government sells you a plot of land (some with and some without buildings already on them) at an extremely low price, but then you have to put a certain amount of improvement onto the lot and agree to live there a certain number of years (I think it's 5). It's got the same sort of a basic premise as some parts of Hope VI. If you infuse people of different income groups into the same area and encourage ownership, then the owners will take pride in their homes and it'll spread to others in the neighborhood. It's a good basic idea and to some extent it works. For example, since my landlords cleaned out our backyard last year, one of the buildings next to us cleaned theirs out a couple of months later and started growing veggies in it.

My main concern is that it relies to much on people outside of the neighborhood instead of people within the community. It's kind of like when the British tried to use German protestant settlers to disperse the French Catholic Acadians in Nova Scotia.

So yeah. That's pretty much all I have to say today. Go Japan.


jessica 5:13 AM  

Hey, the internet cafe that I'm at hasn't been letting me send emails the last couple of days- doesn't have updated-enough software for the website or something. So, I'm okay and I'll try to call you tonight or tomorrow. Love you.

zkorb 1:43 PM  

Don't forget the golden rule. If you've got the gold, you get to make the rules.

Selling city-owned land at below-market values is pretty common method of trying to encourage community development. Often, the land is sold to a nonprofit - if the land is made particularly "affordable" - or at market or near market for for-profits.

Either way, it's interesting to add the "homestead" component. Not only does it encourage people to invest money in an area (instead of just sitting on the land, which can be a a real problem since you're still stuck with a vacant lot / building) it keeps people in the neighborhood - helping to create a community. I guess it also discourages "flipping" if it's a transitional neighborhood (as in transitioning towards the more expensive side).

onetenchelsea 2:51 PM  

Yeah, this program was interesting. They list both the selling price and the estimated cost of repairing the property. They mean-test potential buyers to make sure they can afford the renovations. You then have 1 and a half years to fix the property and you have to live in it for five years, or else the city has the right to reclaim the property.

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