Open Access

The Neighborhood Impact of Industrial Blight: A Path Analysis


Historically, industry shaped the space-economy of the American city, a major source of employment opportunity for residents that selected housing nearby or within a convenient or affordable commuting distance. However, the contemporary American city is structurally characterized by abandoned, blighted, vacant industrial properties due to urban expansion, deindustrialization and the suburbanization of both jobs and population. The urban studies literature rarely documents the neighborhood impact of industrial blight akin to studies of residential blight. We determine the proximity-effect of industrial blight on the neighborhood thought of not as an isolated and closed entity, but as a connected and open entity within the city and the region. Unlike studies confined to the property value impact, we determine Pearson correlations of industrial blight and vacancy expansively with the socio-economic and physical characteristics of neighborhoods. We use path analysis to determine direct, indirect, and total neighborhood impact of industrial blight and vacancy. The census block group and parcel-level geographic information system (GIS) provide our principal sources of data. The block group geography contains the neighborhood as a fundamental spatial unit. We determine how the neighborhood impact varies with distance from the blighted, vacant industrial property.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Geosciences, other