Red Fields to Green Fields is a research effort analyzing the effects of:
- Acquiring financially distressed properties (real estate “in the red”) in major U.S. cities
- Converting them into green space: public parks and adjacent land “banked” for future sustainable development.
A glut of commercial property threatens our communities, businesses, hundreds of small and mid-sized banks, and the FDIC.
Parks improve the economy, environment, and health of a city. We can seize this historic opportunity to create more livable, healthier communities and avert the imminent failure of many banks and businesses.
Low-cost loans would be made via a land bank and parkland acquisition fund provided by the nation’s banking system and led by the Federal Reserve, Treasury, and FDIC. Funding could also come from creative financing options such as tax credits, leveraged with local equity capital.
Public-private partnerships would buy distressed properties and remove buildings, using loans from the Land Bank Fund. Part of the land would be turned into a park; the rest would be redeveloped later to retire the loans. Each phase would create jobs and support property values.
Good for the Economy
- Remove bad loans from banks’ books and avoid bank failures
- Create jobs in park design, construction, and maintenance
- Increase values of businesses and residences near finished parks
Good for the Community
- Replace concrete and glass with trees, green space, and cleaner air
- Remove eyesores that attract crime and vagrancy
- Create space for play and exercise, to combat obesity and poor health
- Offer adults a place to garden, gather, and connect with neighbors