Improving a city's quality of life one code at a time
Urban blight happens when cities fall into decline due to weak economic conditions. When the economy is good, people and businesses move to urban areas thus increasing the value of the land and the city in which it is located. In a bad economy, houses and buildings are abandoned and often fall into disrepair. In order to attract new business and increase population growth, these dilapidated properties must be cleared. According to U.S. 2010 Census Data, Detroit lost 48% of its manufacturing jobs, which caused a decline in population. This decline in population has left 33% of Detroit’s 140 square miles vacant. This blow to the infrastructure of Detroit can be linked to the city declaring bankruptcy in 2013. How can Detroit and cities like it recover and rebuild its infrastructure? This is where a city’s code and compliance department steps in. Building and housing code regulations were first established in America with the adoption of New York City’s Tenement Housing Act of 1867. It became the standard on which modern code enforcement is based. The goal of code enforcement officers is improvement of the property to the point that it can be described as in compliance. Being in compliance adds to the quality of life, property values, and the overall economic health of a city. City’s, such as Dallas, Texas, have taken measures to increase code compliance by adding more code enforcement officers and rewriting city codes. They inspect both residential and commercial properties for violations that may threaten the general public’s safety and quality of life. Working with property owners to educate them on compliance is the number one task of these code enforcement officers. If a property owner still fails to remedy the violations in a timely manner, the city will step in and force compliance via court orders. If you know or suspect code violations in your city, check your city’s website for reporting instructions which may vary by location.