Housing & Land Use

Safe, affordable and accessible housing remains a core element of the American Dream. The need for predictability in the mortgage finance markets presents an ongoing challenge for cities. It is therefore essential that local leaders plan for land uses that help residents match the array of housing needs they have over a lifetime with appropriate housing options in the community. Resources here include research studies, conference reports, individual city case examples, policy recommendations and opinion pieces.

    Metropolitan Leadership Forum, Phoenix, Arizona
    As part of a project focusing on leadership roles and policy decisions by municipal elected officials and their partners in community organizations across Arizona, the National League of Cities hosted a Metropolitan Leadership Forum in Phoenix during February 2013.  At the conclusion of the forum, participants identified action steps in the fields of planning, partnership, leadership and citizen engagement that will help to build more sustainable and resilient communities.

    Boston Housing Strategies Serve Residents for the Long-term
    In the city of Boston, local leaders are committed to long-term efforts that educate new mortgage borrowers, support existing homeowners, mitigate foreclosure and stabilize neighborhoods.  Initiatives such as the Boston Home Center, Don’t Borrow Trouble and the Foreclosure Intervention Team have helped to achieve resilient neighborhoods that provide opportunities for economic prosperity for the city’s residents.

    Baltimore, Md., Works to Reduce Vacant Housing and Urban Blight
    As a result of one of the largest percentage declines in population among major U.S. cities from 1950 to 2000, Baltimore is challenged with approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, roughly 25% of which are city owned. Baltimore Housing estimates that more than 5,700 of the vacant structures are in areas with existing or emerging development demand.

      • Brooks CNN InterviewBaltimore Tackles Vacant Home Plight
        CNN's Athena Jones looks at Baltimore's effort to fill thousands of vacant homes--a challenge many US cities are facing.  Featured in this segment is NLC's James Brooks, program director for community development & infrastructure.

       Managing Foreclosures and Vacant Properties (2012)

      City leaders play a key role in working with national, state, local and non-profit partners to help residents keep their homes and help communities cope with the ongoing effects of the foreclosure crisis. This guide offers solutions for the challenges that cities and city leaders face in dealing with foreclosures: preventing vacancies, preventing deterioration, rehabilitation and re-use and demolition.

      Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures
      The National League of Cities teamed up as a partner in the Building Resilient Region's Network (BRR). BRR, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, is a network of scholars and practitioners exploring regional solutions to a variety of challenges.