‘Emerald Alleys’ coming to Richmond

The Mathieu Court alley in Richmond’s Iron Triangle was a paved alley that had become a dumping ground for excess garbage, lined with overgrown brush. But the City of Richmond joined with residents, a neighborhood council, and a handful of grassroots groups to “green” the alley for public use. “The aim is reclaim these areas as usable neighborhood space and promote […]

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‘No More Slumlords’ wants to hold negligent landlords to task

For many Fresnans, home is not necessarily a welcoming place. Broken plumbing, toxic mold, rodent infestations, faulty wiring and gas lines – these conditions make homes unsafe and unhealthy, and the blighted state of houses attracts criminal activities. Absentee and negligent landlords are often behind the decay of these properties, while tenants remain powerless to fix them. This is why two Fresno […]

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Seeing gardens in the blight

The number of vacant lots visible on a city’s streets is an indicator of a neighborhood’s neglect. But the lots also provide an otherwise unavailable opportunity: to fill up the empty spaces with vegetable gardens. The Oakland City Council modified regulations to allow gardeners to grow vegetables on vacant lots and sell without a permit, as long as they receive […]

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Enforcing the code of clean streets

In recent years, Richmond has seen an increase in demolitions of blighted properties that can’t be salvaged and that pose a public safety hazard. Abandoned buildings and homes can be havens for drug users, dealers, or gangs members, say city officials. Richmond’s Code Enforcement Abatement crew is responsible for cleaning up or tearing down these properties. “A lot of people still don’t […]

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Residents mobilize to clean up streets

With crime rates down, Boyle Heights residents are focusing on how their neighborhood looks. Community members have taken up the task of rescuing neighborhood sidewalks from common blights like abandoned couches, mattresses and old televisions. Volunteers recently organized a cleanup – the third so far this year. “For me, it’s uncomfortable to see trash in every corner. That means that people don’t really care about […]

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Take back the alleys

For four days volunteers including residents, business owners, and artists convened to transform city alleyways by painting murals, installing signage, marking pathways, installing lights, weeding and planting, and proposing other designs to be determined by the community. The event culminated in a series of block parties.  See more in a video from Media Arts San Diego.

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Previously halted improvements now underway in Mecca

The streets near Mecca Elementary School are undergoing a series of improvements as part of a $1 million project recently approved by the Riverside’s Board of Supervisors.  The 2010 plan was halted after California eliminated Redevelopment Agencies. Redevelopment Agencies improved neglected or blighted areas, using a portion of property tax revenue.  The area around Mecca Elementary School, […]

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Reclaiming the alleys in Boyle Heights

For many kids in park-poor communities like Boyle Heights, not having a backyard to play in sometimes means not playing at all.  But a community effort to convert blighted areas into play zones, looking at alleys as possible playgrounds and community gathering places.  “They have no park nearby, and in the alleyway there were too many holes. […]

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