An Analysis of San Antonio's Vacant Building Program and the Impacts on Surrounding Neighborhoods

Date
2020-04-18
Authors
Angel, Selina
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Abstract

This report discusses how the City of San Antonio’s (COSA) Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) Vacant Building Program (VBP) has impacted surrounding properties and communities around neglected and abandoned structures since the program’s 2014 launch. The study area focuses on Dignowity Hill, a historic district and neighborhood that has the second-highest number of vacancies in San Antonio. After background research and statistical data was collected from VBP specialists, a market and demographic analysis was conducted on the study area. This data was retrieved from the National Historical Geographic Information Systems (NHGIS) website to determine the changes of the housing market and demographics before and after the VBP launch. Data shows that there is a correlation between the high number of vacancies and the revitalization of certain areas within Dignowity Hill. The analysis also concluded that most registered vacant properties lie near San Antonio’s downtown core. This area is experiencing the highest number of new constructions, which is bringing in diversity. The data also shows that there is a migration of the Hispanic population moving further away from the city core in Dignowity Hill. It is concluded that the VBP preserves the architectural aspects of the neighborhood but does not preserve the intangible elements -- therefore displacement and gentrification are bound to happen. The findings of this paper will help understand not only how programs like the VBP can help discover areas of redevelopment through vacancies within the city but also shed light on how these programs must find ways to preserve the intangible elements of a neighborhood as well.

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Keywords
vacancy, historic properties, Dignowity Hill, historic preservation, urban planning
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Department
Urban and Regional Planning