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City of Philadelphia

Blight and Redevelopment Reports

The City Planning Commission has legal responsibilities related to City-assisted Redevelopment, which involves taking land and buildings by eminent domain for public purposes.  This includes projects like low-to-moderate income houses and apartments, side yards and non-profit health centers.  Pennsylvania Urban Redevelopment Law governs this process, which is primarily carried out by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA). 

Before City-assisted Redevelopment can occur, the City Planning Commission must (1) certify an area as blighted and (2) prepare a Redevelopment Area Plan. A blight certification can happen only when requested by the PRA.  A Commission certification must be followed by an additional blight determination by the PRA preceding any intended acquisitions.  Land that is taken may be conveyed by the PRA with controls on how the land will be used.

A Redevelopment Area Plan guides the sale of land that the PRA has condemned. It must remain active until the Authority sells or transfers all of its land within a Redevelopment Area. 

Redevelopment Area Plans on this page show areas in which the PRA still holds land acquired through eminent domain. This does not mean that the City still considers all of these areas to be blighted.


CITY-WIDE CONTEXT

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Criteria for Blight

Most commonly used
  • Unsafe, unsanitary and inadequate conditions
  • Economically or socially undesirable land use
  • Faulty street and lot layout
Other criteria
  • Inadequate planning
  • Excessive land coverage
  • Lack of proper light, air and open space
  • Defective design and arrangement of buildings

Urban Redevelopment Law Amendments

Changes to the PA Urban Redevelopment Law (Bill 881) passed in 2006 apply more stringent criteria to blight certifications.  A majority of properties within an area need to be documented as blighted in order for the area to be certified.