An ounce of prevention: laying the groundwork for a proactive approach to housing abandonment in Wilmington, Delaware

Bourke, Jason
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University of Delaware
Neighborhoods in the City of Wilmington, Delaware - like those in many early industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest United States - suffer the negative impacts associated with vacant and abandoned properties. Nearly one in every twenty parcels in Wilmington is registered as `vacant' with the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L & I). Rehabilitating abandoned housing is a costly endeavor and interrupting the process of housing deterioration has proven a more fruitful alternative in other cities in the United States. This thesis lays the groundwork for proactive approach to the problem of housing abandonment in Wilmington by exploring what is known generally about housing abandonment, its extent, causes and preventative practices in the general context of the United States; and applying the results of that exploration to the context of Wilmington. The resulting recommendations reflect practices that have demonstrable success around the country and can help Wilmington officials enhance their approach to housing abandonment.