Monday, July 5, 2010

The Re-Forestation of America - The Foreclosures for Forest Initiative...

It now looks as though there is a real plan to make the massive amounts of foreclosures to serve some common public good for the general population - Foreclosure properties for parks, recreation and re-forestation.

A Fortune Magazine article written by Nin-Hai Tseng reports there is a movement towards returning foreclosed properties back into usable green space for the public.

To me, this is extremely ironic. And is shows how incredibly inefficient things can be when the top priority is your financial statement.

Woodlands, forest, pastureland, farms, lakes, streams, what have you - have all been razed across the country simply to build tract homes, subdivisions and neighborhoods. I am almost certain the level of real estate development in the U.S. for the past decade out-paced development in any other decade, hands down.

Billions and billions of dollars have been spent developing land for new homes. And wasted. Within a five mile radius of my home, there are at least 10 incomplete subdivisions that all the land has been cleared, but there is not one house on the land. Just poles sticking out of the ground. Everything came to a screeching halt in late 2008 after the banks froze lending to developers. And the land just sits there. Empty.

Now the land is full of grasses and small shrubbery. All of the beautiful hardwoods, naturally occurring Dogwoods, and other native plants and shrubbery are gone.
What a waste.

The Non-Profit organization Trust for Public Land has been helping state & local governments & private citizens transform their otherwise unusable land and properties into usable space, with a focus on conservation for decades. That's good to know, but it would have been nice if the areas had not been destroyed in the first place.

There is hope, however. TPL also has been known to take vacant, foreclosed properties in good shape and turn the properties into affordable housing. There are a lot of properties that have been completed but never occupied in my area as well. They are an eyesore, as the roads are not finished, the ac units are missing, and many windows or doors are boarded up.

Hopefully the Trust for Public Land, which is now beginning to work with banks and their foreclosed portfolios, and others like them, can help the U.S. transition into a state of stability in the housing market by transforming the foreclosed properties, land and homes into something meaningful and useful, one tract at a time...

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