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Can Detroit Keep Empty Lots From Becoming Eyesores Again?

Trash sits in front of dilapidated houses in Detroit on Feb. 21, 2013
Trash sits in front of dilapidated houses in Detroit on Feb. 21, 2013Photograph by Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

Detroit is home to 114,033 empty lots—and about 5 percent have become illegal trash dumps. As the city considers tearing down tens of thousands of blighted properties, there’s new focus on what it could and should do to keep the cleared space from becoming blighted yet again.

Detroit’s Blight Removal Task Force issued a massive report on Tuesday that found 30 percent of the city’s structures are blighted. The recommendation: Utilize the authority of the city’s land bank to tear down about 10 percent of the city’s buildings right away. But mass demolitions would give the bank “the responsibility of maintaining tens of thousands of vacant lots until they can be repurposed, with no funding to do so,” the report warns.