12/12/2012 04:37 pm ET

Why Does Detroit Have Land Banks?

DETROIT — When you ask the average Metro Detroit Joe, “What is a land bank?” expect to get a response, but not one that actually answers your question. After Joe unfurrows his brow and completes his list of random phrases like “community gardens” and “tax protected,” you find yourself nodding and smiling while reaching for your computer to Google for all of those terms above. 

Broken down, land banks are simple enough. The confusion likely lies in a land bank’s differing authorities: the communities for whose properties they bank differ from one another and certain neighborhoods have unique issues regarding their local real estate. Example: a neighborhood may need help with economic development while another industrial area requires a focus on the demolishing of urban ruins.

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