CAP students took on the tough project of collaborating with neighborhood residents to decide which abandoned properties have the most potential for redevelopment in Muncie. The class, Repurposing Abandoned Property, was supported by an Immersive Learning grant and partnered with the Muncie Land Bank.
The goal of the class was to create an abandoned property plan, which set priorities for which properties to acquire. Students derived the plan in consultation with community participants, Muncie residents who attended each class to offer real world insights on living in neighborhoods dotted by blight.
Additionally, each week the students heard from leaders of both non-profits, and units of local government. They learned quickly that everyone agrees that abandoned property is a problem, and everybody also has different priorities for addressing the problem. Mix in a healthy dose of complex and ambiguous public data on the location and ownership of abandoned property and you can see why this task was immense.
In the end, students produced plans for the acquisition of 100 properties in coordination with Muncie residents. The plans will be reviewed by the Muncie Land Bank Board and adopted. By next year, the properties will be in the portfolio of the land bank, ready to be reused for housing, parks, and community amenities.
By John West
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning