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City of Philadelphia

Blight Certifications and Redevelopment Area Plans

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission provides assistance to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) for the redevelopment of vacant and blighted areas. Pennsylvania law defines blighted properties generally as buildings or areas that are neglected, unsafe, and/or a public nuisance (PA Title 26 Chapter 2).

The Planning Commission can make determinations of blight for areas that require modest assistance, however, for areas where property acquisition is necessary, the Redevelopment Authority must make its own determination in accord with strict Pennsylvania rules.  

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission and Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority maintain redevelopment area plans and urban renewal plans for areas that have been designated as blighted. These plans guide the redevelopment of public land in accord with City policies.  Redevelopment plans and urban renewal plans do not expire, however, they are regularly updated to reflect public plans and priorities.



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.