Using Local Data to Address Abandoned Property: Lessons Learned From a Community Health Partnership

Journal Article by Samantha Texeira, Demi Kolke
June 2017

University Center for Social and Urban Research   (Pittsburgh)


A growing body of research highlights the role of the built environment in promoting or impeding health. This research suggests that environmental issues like abandoned properties exact a toll on physical and mental health.


We describe a community partnership aimed at improving community health through equitable land use policies and blight remediation.


A collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and Operation Better Block, Inc. (OBB), a community development corporation in Pittsburgh, was formed. We implemented an intervention to address property abandonment using data-driven techniques. In addition to successful advocacy for city-wide policies addressing abandonment, 80% of the properties that were part of our intervention were improved or addressed by the city.


Balancing the needs of community and academic partners can be challenging, but our experiences suggest that community health partnerships to address built environmental issues may be an important conduit to health promotion.


Publisher Info:

Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action, Volume 11, Issue 2, Summer 2017, pp175-182.

Published by Johns Hopkins University Press