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Improving Vacant Property Also Increases Safety and Health

A decade-long study by a University of Pennsylvania research team found significant decreases in vandalism and stress in areas where vacant and blighted property has been cleaned up.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s LandCare Program, which is supported by the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development, was linked to significant reductions in gun assaults across most of Philadelphia and significant reductions in vandalism in one section of the city. Vacant lot greening was also associated with residents reporting significantly less stress and more exercise.  The study follows earlier findings from the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research that showed improved vacant lots have a positive effect on property values.


This research reinforces the results from the separate report commissioned by PACDC and RDA last year on the significant costs vacant and blighted property have to the City and homeowners, and further supports our efforts to reform the City’s system for acquiring, maintaining and disposing of vacant property.


For the full report by Charles C. Branas, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, click on Read more or view the full release from the University of Pennsylvania.


The abstract and full report from the American Journal of Epidemiology can be found here.