Blight in Wilkinsburg


Deindustrialization, depopulation, and changing economic landscapes can turn neighborhoods from vibrant to blighted. Vacant properties further distress communities by restraining municipal tax revenues and reducing occupied property values. They can also chip away at economic vitality and safety. While Pittsburgh continues to revitalize with the help of public-private investment, recent census data reveals that the city still has more than 100,400 vacant homes. How then does urban blight get addressed, without losing community voice?

CMU Alumni, Ken Chu and Shawneil Campbell, shed light on the Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour (WVHT), an community initiative launched from a Heinz College course project. The first national event of its kind, the tour educates attendees on the rich histories of several unoccupied houses, as well as the process for purchasing vacant properties. By restoring value to these properties through awareness and storytelling, WVHT helps reframe the public’s perception and economic future of the blighted borough of Wilkinsburg. Tune in to hear about how this groundbreaking project garnered national attention by serving as a promising model for local residents to combat urban blight.

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