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The New American Ghost Town

Foreclosure, Abandonment, and the Prospects for City Planning

Justin Hollander, Colin Polsky, Dan Zinder, and Dan Runfola

November 2010, English

Housing vacancy has been recognized as a significant factor that accelerates neighborhood decline. More recently, researchers and policymakers have reframed this problem as an opportunity for adaptive redevelopment. This study is the first stage of a research effort to identify vacancy hot spots, analyze why these areas have declined, and tailor policy recommendations to planners and policymakers for encouraging neighborhood revitalization. It utilized GIS technologies to analyze housing occupancy data provided by the United States Postal Service to show how housing occupancy patterns changed during the recent foreclosure crisis. It also utilized Global Moran’s I and Local Indicators of Spatial Autocorrelation (LISA) spatial analysis techniques to identify clusters of declining zip codes. It found that formerly expanding regions in the South, West, and northern Midwest were most heavily impacted. Suburban areas recorded a higher net increase in declining zip codes during the foreclosure period than other areas.