More than 40,000 lots and properties sit vacant in Philadelphia, impacting economic mobility, public safety, and quality of life for many residents, especially those in low-income neighborhoods. To address this problem, the Department of Planning and Development enlisted FUSE executive fellow Amanda Soskin to develop a strategy to manage, activate, and reduce the number of vacant properties in the city. 

Amanda helped articulate a clear, unified vision for the city’s various vacancy reduction programs, including ongoing efforts to establish a land bank. She identified shared goals and proposed a new organizational structure to support strong leadership and enhance interagency collaboration. She also helped harmonize efforts across the policy, operations, and communications functions, and she designed a methodology to encourage the use of incremental strategies. Amanda’s work has enabled a more strategic and coordinated response to the problem of vacant and abandoned properties, bolstering the city’s efforts to revitalize distressed communities.