Abandonment Cleveland Urbanism

Foreclosure, Crime and Neighborhood Disintegration

by Michael R. Allen

According to an article on the CNN website entitled “Crime scene: foreclosure”, Cleveland’s historic Slavic Village neighborhood is in the nation’s top ZIP code for foreclosures. An estimated 800 buildings sit vacant there. The neighborhood has out-of-control crime, correlated to the foreclosure rate. Houses get stripped within 72 hours of being vacated, and aren’ty worth enough money to justify repair. Police are inattentive, and the city can’t afford to do much trash cleanup or demolition. People flee in droves, leaving those who remain in fear. Lenders continue to foreclose, with little concern about the effects.

This situation sounds a lot like conditions in north St. Louis in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The article’s eerie conclusion reads “as the number of empty lots and abandoned houses grows where houses and residents were once packed in a tight community, there are fewer and fewer neighbors to fight the battle.”

(Thanks to Barbara Manzara for the link.)