Vacant Property

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Philly's 43,000 vacant lots face a fresh political battle

The Philadelphia Land Bank is the latest battleground in the war for position between City Council and the Kenney administration. At the first council meeting of 2018 held on Thursday, Council…

    • A protested eviction in Germantown, July 2012 | Bas Slabbers for NewsWorks

Gamblers, foreign money and struggling homeowners: Inside Philly’s sheriff sale boom

Above a nondescript dry cleaners in Center City sits a mysterious little office. The rare visitor has to walk through an unrelated tax preparation business to reach its three tiny rooms,…

    • Leo Brundage in front of his house in Eastwick.

In Eastwick, belief that flooding during Hurricane Floyd was intentional still muddies the water

Eastwick residents have long endured regular flooding. The Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood is home to the lowest point in the city. The community sits within the federally-designated floodplain. Historically, Eastwick was a…



How many vacant lots are there in Philadelphia? The question seems so simple.

The answer, however, is not. Take "40,000," the number most frequently cited in recent news articles. That count first began to circulate widely after appearing in a study in 2010 by Econsult.

Or "24,000 to 25,000," the number of vacant properties identified by the city's Department of Licenses & Inspections in preparation for a new push to bring privately owned blighted properties into compliance, as City Paper recently reported.

But do a little digging, and you'll find that both numbers are really only rough estimates. In fact, you'll quickly discover a startling fact: No one knows exactly how many vacant properties there are here. And as the Nutter administration tries to come up with a comprehensive policy around vacant land, that elusive number represents a question mark in its equations.



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