Blight Authority of Memphis ramps up programs to revitalize communities

Empty lots flank Tyrone London’s grandmother’s home on Dempster Street in South Memphis, and another sits across the street like an unwelcome mat. London stops by regularly to visit his grandmother, who is in hospice care, and can’t miss seeing the potential in the unused properties.
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Date Published: May 27, 2021
Writer: Hannah Grabenstein

BAM in the media

Fighting Blight in Memphis. With Leslie Smith and Austin Harrison

Fighting Blight in Memphis. With Leslie Smith and Austin Harrison

This week, Memphis Metropolis gets deep into the weeds to understand the causes of blight and how community developers are using innovative tools to eradicate it, one property at a time. First, Leslie Smith, executive director of Blight Authority of Memphis, explains what a land bank authority can do and how BAM’s creation brought some new tools to the table in the city’s efforts to fight blight.

Later in the show, regular commentator (and self-described ‘blight nerd’) Austin Harrison returns to discuss the economic impact of blight on neighborhoods and the city, and why acknowledging the racist causes of blight – including public policies that supported redlining and predatory lending – are key to developing equitable ways to eradicate it.

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