- Esrati - https://esrati.com -

From Vacant to Vibrant- only if you squint real hard.

I spent the morning at another community group-think fest. 200 people there- including a boat load of city staff.

I tweeted the whole she-bang to keep others informed (reverse chronological order- read from bottom up):

  1. Closing with mayor McLin brief speech. Future events thru September. They want to use electronic comms.(bout time)

  2. Yes we have land to build housing, yes we have vacant homes. What we need is reasons for people to invest and return 2 city

  3. RT @SlideMagnet [4]: “Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary.” – Evan Esar

  4. Just told 2 shutup for suggesting that we stop vacant homes frm becoming vacant lots. Seems like we want to b a hospice instead of hospital

  5. Now in “current neighborhood opportunities” again, are we focusing on wrong issue? Mowing lots or fixing neighborhoods?

  6. Why does the REAP progam take 12-18 months? It shouldn’t take that long anymore.

  7. Focusing on empty lots is like a dentist trying to practice on where the tooth was, instead of taking care of the teeth that are left.

  8. Now starting session on “current neighborhood opportunities” hopefully not just an adopt a lot session

  9. Can we simplify the process of splitting lots and guarantee no increase in taxes if space is maintained green?

  10. In session on transformed landscape, continuum of opportunities for vacant lots

  11. “Dayton beautiful” regional or core? Is there a litmus test of what is good, right & just? Vision requires focus.

  12. Shouldn’t be doing speculative urban renewal, only targeted. Wants to fuse old school linear organizing conversation to social media chaos

  13. Getting history of dayton’s rise and fall from head city planner, john Gower. Now using jetsons to look at vision of future

  14. At Dayton convention center for “vacant to vibrant” good turnout-about 200 people. How do we refill the urban city?

Real creativity, comes from thinking big [18]

Then give me some big ideas. What to do with vacant lots? The best thing- don’t let them happen.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed [20]! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [21]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bruce Kettelle

I’ve become fascinated with a relatively new movement to build smaller homes. The largest concentration right now seems to be on the west coast. The lower cost for heat and utilities (and smaller carbon footprint) helps justify living smaller. One hang up here in the midwest is the existing zoning laws require minimums of 1,000 to 1,200 square foot homes. Some of these homes are only 200 square feet.
This link is a good place to start if you want to see some examples. http://tinyhouseblog.com/


I recall an early version of this back in the 1980s, also in nothern California. Back then various localities modified their zoning codes to permit 700 SF second houses on a property, the so-called “granny flat”. These were usually rentals, as a response to the housing crisis in the Bay Area (seems like they are always having housing issues there, but different ones than we are).

Back then Sunset magazine (which was directed to the West Coast market) did a design competition for these small houses. I think these were either for plans or built versions, or both.

So this has been bouncing around over there for ahile.


If the realistic option is demolition of neigborhoods by attrition, I blogged on perhaps documenting the destroyed houses as a sort of “virtual preservation”, using examples from San Jose and Louisville:

Toward a Dayton Documentation Project

For a conservation approach based on building type there are two solid ones from Chicago:

Chicago Bungalow Initiative

…and the follow-up, for another common house type in Chicago:

Chicago Greystone Inititiative
(New York has brownstones, Chicago has greystones).

Something like this could be done in Dayton to build up a buzz around the housing stock itself. One coud see something like the “Dayton Foursquare Intitiative”, focused on this building type, and maybe around certain Dayton neighborhoods that have a lot of them, like Walnut Hills and Ohmer Park.

For infill housing I think they are doing a good job in the Wolf Creek neighborhood. But from Louisville here is an example of both buzz creation and infill based on the shotgun house, about 15%- 16% of that cities housing stock, mostly 19th century housing:
….local preservationist group puts together an “idea book” and inspection checklist:
Louisville Shotguns

…and from the local media, “these houses are cool” (and a bit of what Bruce K said above about new thinking on housing):
Louisville Shotgun Redux: Southern Standard

This was just building the interest. In real life, example of renovations mixed with new construction that fits in with the neighborhood, since the decision was to conserve this neighborhood (which is not a historic district) rather than tear it down:
Shotgun Revival


These examples, except the first one, is what could be done if Daytonians want to conserve neighborhoods rather than demolition, though i think the first suggestion of actually documenting dying neighborhoods and business districts might be a lot cheaper and easier. But of little interest except to historians.