The Effects of the Demolition of Vacant and Abandoned Houses on Adjoining Property Conditions and Assessed Values

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Indiana Journal of Political Science



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Indiana Political Science Association

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Vacant and abandoned houses have been a problem for urban areas for years and that problem has been exacerbated in the later part of the first decade of the 2000s due to shrinking urban populations and troubles in the housing market. Previous research has shown that demolishing vacant and abandoned houses improves public safety and health in neighborhoods. It also protects the value of other properties nearby and can help to keep a neighborhood from heading into decline. Finally, it can mollify voters living near a vacant and abandoned house that has fallen into disrepair. This exploratory project challenges the wisdom of complaint-driven demolition programs by examining the effects of demolitions on the condition and assessed value of adjoining properties in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Inspections were made of properties on which demolitions had occurred, on properties where water had been shut-off for at least 17 months, and the adjoining properties. Assessed values and other data from property record cards and the Allen County geographic information system were added to the data set. The nature of the effects on adjoining properties was consistent when comparing the demolition properties to the water shut-off properties, but the findings were inconclusive. In some ways the properties adjoining a demolition property fare better than the properties adjoining a shut-off property. In other ways the opposite is true, and in some cases there is no difference.


vacant housing, indiana


Political Science

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