About

Credit: VISIT Milwaukee

The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) is the only national conference dedicated to strengthening communities through innovative solutions for vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties.

From May 15-17, 2018, RVP is expected to draw approximately 1,000 professionals to Milwaukee for 60+ engaging sessions and other learning opportunities.

The theme of RVP in 2018 is “Groundswell: Rising to the Challenge.” It will celebrate the growing movement of people dedicated to revitalizing distressed communities, and will explore how to harness that energy to tackle the difficult fiscal and policy challenges communities face today.

Credit: City of Milwaukee

RVP explores the latest strategies to address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties, providing space to showcase innovation and creating a forum in which new ideas can arise. It brings people together around these common challenges and equips them to return home and effect real, on-the-ground change.

Sessions will tackle practical strategies, research, and fresh ideas on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Arts, placemaking, and culture
  • Code enforcement and nuisance abatement
  • Demolition and other blight elimination techniques
  • Equity, fairness, and justice in community development
  • Financing rehab and homeownership
  • Historic preservation
  • Land banking
  • Mobilizing people to create change
  • Property data and information systems
  • Property tax systems and property tax foreclosure

    Credit: City of Milwaukee

  • Rental housing regulation
  • Reuse of buildings and land

In addition to traditional conference sessions, mobile workshops will take participants to Milwaukee’s neighborhoods to experience the City firsthand and learn from the leaders who are working to reclaim and revitalize the city’s vacant properties.

 

In the video below, Ian Beniston, executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, explains why the Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference is “Geek Central” for people working on community revitalization.

Who should attend

RVP attracts a mix of government, nonprofit, community, and private sector leaders. Attendees include urban planners, city attorneys, elected officials, local, state, and federal officials, CDC staff, land bank leaders, academics, police officers, code enforcement officials, neighborhood association leaders, developers, representatives from lending institutions, urban policy experts, and more. RVP consistently attracts people from 35-40 states, representing urban, suburban, and rural communities, including both places experiencing population loss and widespread abandonment as well as growing communities where some neighborhoods find themselves left behind.

Why Milwaukee

Credit: VISIT Milwaukee

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has demonstrated his commitment to revitalization, and leaders in multiple city departments are actively working together in creative new ways to stabilize and strengthen the city’s neighborhoods. The local community development sector is also pioneering new interventions and revitalization strategies. The City of Milwaukee faces significant challenges related to vacant and abandoned properties as well as substandard rental properties – challenges that will feel relatable for many RVP attendees. But with strong leadership across sectors, Milwaukee has a rich array of on-the-ground projects and programs that attendees will have the chance to learn from firsthand.

Conference History

Established in 2007 and held every eighteen months, RVP has traveled to Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore. Plenary speakers have included artist Theaster Gates, Evicted author and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Congressman Dan Kildee, and other remarkable leaders. RVP has lifted up ideas and strategies that work, many of which have been replicated across the country, and it has created the space for creativity and collaboration that have led to major policy and legislative reforms.

About the Host

Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration no longer exist in American communities. Community Progress serves as the leading national resource for local, state, and federal policies and practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization. Community Progress seeks to build strong neighborhoods for and with the people who live in them by nurturing comprehensive and sustainable change. More information about Community Progress is available on our website.

Sign Up For Updates

Our Host City

For the revitalization-minded, the Milwaukee is filled with sights – and sites! Lake Michigan is just one mile east of the convention center, and land adjacent to the Lake is designated for public purposes including parks and museums. Renowned architects such as Eero Saarinen and Santiago Calatrava designed prominent shoreline buildings. Milwaukee’s downtown RiverWalk is a hit with residents, visitors, and restaurants. The downtown is in the midst of an unprecedented development boom of commercial and residential buildings. The domed Miller Park baseball stadium is just two miles west of downtown. Milwaukee, famously, is known for its brewery scene. At the same time, three shuttered breweries within walking distance of the city’s center have taken on new lives. The former Pabst, Blatz, and Schlitz breweries are thriving sites of business and residential activity. In Milwaukee’s redeveloped Park East neighborhood, near the convention center, an elevated highway was torn down in the late 1990’s. And the Harley Davidson Museum, just a half-mile away, anchors the east end of Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. That area is an award-winning site of industrial redevelopment. While in town for RVP, take advantage of everything Milwaukee has to offer!

(Image credit: VISIT Milwaukee)

Our Host City

For the revitalization-minded, the Milwaukee is filled with sights – and sites! Lake Michigan is just one mile east of the convention center, and land adjacent to the Lake is designated for public purposes including parks and museums. Renowned architects such as Eero Saarinen and Santiago Calatrava designed prominent shoreline buildings. Milwaukee’s downtown RiverWalk is a hit with residents, visitors, and restaurants. The downtown is in the midst of an unprecedented development boom of commercial and residential buildings. The domed Miller Park baseball stadium is just two miles west of downtown. Milwaukee, famously, is known for its brewery scene. At the same time, three shuttered breweries within walking distance of the city’s center have taken on new lives. The former Pabst, Blatz, and Schlitz breweries are thriving sites of business and residential activity. In Milwaukee’s redeveloped Park East neighborhood, near the convention center, an elevated highway was torn down in the late 1990’s. And the Harley Davidson Museum, just a half-mile away, anchors the east end of Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. That area is an award-winning site of industrial redevelopment. While in town for RVP, take advantage of everything Milwaukee has to offer!

(Image credit: VISIT Milwaukee)