Bringing Buildings Back


Second Edition, 7″ x 10″, softcover,
344 pages, National Housing Institute.

SKU: CB0001 Category:


This long overdue book offers communities of all sizes a wide range of tools for reclaiming abandoned properties and returning them to productive use.

The book is unique in that it tackles the entire cycle of abandonment from prevention through taking control of properties to fostering productive reuse.

At each stage, the author offers practical strategies and best practices from cities, community development corporations, neighborhood organizations, and others who have successfully brought abandoned buildings back to life.

In three comprehensive sections you will learn how to:

Prevent abandonment. The best way to deal with abandonment is to prevent it. The author provides insights into why properties are abandoned and offers strategies and programs to keep them in productive use.

Take control of abandoned properties. Successful reuse of an abandoned property requires placing it in the hands of someone willing and able to put it back into productive use. The book explores the legal tools available to take title to properties as well as strategies for minimizing the period between abandonment and reuse, and for maintaining properties before turning them over for redevelopment.

Foster sustainable reuse of abandoned properties. The long-term strength of a community depends not only on abandoned properties being reused but also on making sure that their reuse provides the greatest benefit — socially, economically, and physically — to the community. This section explores the process of developing effective reuse strategies.

In recent years, states have devised new tools to help cities gain control of abandoned properties. And local governments and not-for-profits have crafted new strategies to help owners maintain their properties and keep them in productive use. Bringing Buildings Back will show you how to use these tools to prevent abandonment, take control of properties, and find the best use for them.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Understanding Abandonment
  2. Preventing Abandonment
    • Thinking strategically
    • Property information and early warning systems
    • Improving the economic viability of at-risk absentee-owned properties
    • Preventing abandonment of owner-occupied housing
    • Enforcement and intervention
    • Receivership
    • Resources for further information
  3. Taking Control of Abandoned Properties
    • Making tax foreclosure work
    • Other property acquisition tools
    • Property disposition
    • Setting up an abandoned property management system
    • Designing and establishing land bank entities
    • Getting action on privately owned properties
    • Maintaining, securing, and removing abandoned properties
    • Resources for further information
  4. Fostering Sustainable Reuse of Abandoned Properties
    • Laying the groundwork for the city’s future
    • Making markets for abandoned properties
    • Using incentives to further community investment
    • Building reuse strategies around neighborhood market dynamics
    • Neighborhood revitalization planning and abandoned property strategies
    • Principles for abandoned property reuse
    • Greening the urban environment: Open space as a reuse strategy
    • Stabilizing neighborhoods after the foreclosure crisis
    • Resources for further information
  5. Bibliography
  6. Index

About the Author

Alan Mallach, FAICP, is research director of the National Housing Institute and the author of many books and articles on urban planning, housing, and community development. His career has spanned the worlds of business, government, and academe.


Read the Introduction


Bringing Buildings Back is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.