Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Decorative boards to blend vacant homes into Cleveland neighborhoods

This vacant Slavic Village house has been an eyesore and magnet for trouble. Now it's part of a pilot program that Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka launched to artistically board houses as part of the effort to limit the harm done to communities.Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer

In a couple of posts, I've been showing the urban problems triggered by the houses left empty. The neighbors' property value is instantly dropped and Cities have no money to keep watching for vandals. 
For example, " a new study suggests that Philadelphia's 40,000 vacant buildings reduce home values by as much as $8,000 and cost the city $20 million per year in maintenance." (Catherine Lucey)
To my surprise, Cleveland found a kind of solution, a little naive... here it is:
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka is testing a way to board up vacant houses so they don't look like glaring neon signs saying nobody's home.
Pianka brought in a Chicago man who specializes in making plywood to look like doors and windows. He gets vacant homes to blend into the neighborhood and not stand out as eyesores that draw drive-by vandals as well as vagrants and kids.
A $20,000 grant is paying for the program, which involves 22 mostly residential properties and should be done by Labor Day.
Excerpt of the post by Sandra Livingston at

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