All across the land, subdivisions in once fast-growing areas are becoming depopulated due to unemployment, dramatic decline in prices, and of course foreclosures. The formerly expanding regions in the South, West, and northern Midwest are most heavily impacted, say the authors of a recently posted Lincoln Institute working paper, The New American Ghost Town: Foreclosure, Abandonment, and the Prospects for City Planning.
Traditionally, housing vacancy has been recognized as a significant factor that accelerates neighborhood decline. More recently, researchers and policymakers have reframed this problem as an opportunity for adaptive redevelopment. Researchers Justin Hollander, Colin Polsky, Dan Zinder, and Dan Runfola sought to effort to identify vacancy hot spots, analyze why these areas have declined, and tailor policy recommendations to planners and policymakers for encouraging neighborhood revitalization. They used GIS technologies to analyze housing occupancy data provided by the United States Postal Service to show how housing occupancy patterns changed during the recent foreclosure crisis, and also Global Moran’s I and Local Indicators of Spatial Autocorrelation (LISA) spatial analysis techniques to identify clusters of declining zip codes.
Among the finding: suburban areas recorded a higher net increase in declining zip codes during the foreclosure period than other areas.