February 5, 2016

MUSA Brown Bag Lunch Talk with Guy Thigpen

past event

Recap

Guy Thigpen, Director of Analytics for the Philadelphia Lank Bank kicked off the first MUSA Brown Bag lunch of the spring semester on February 5, 2016. As a MUSA alumni and long-time partner to Penn IUR and PennDesign, he spoke to a mix of students, staff, and alumni about his personal experience with the MUSA program and his journey at the former Philadelphia Reinvestment Authority, now called the Philadelphia Lank Bank. The Philadelphia Lank Bank officially launched in November 2015, despite behind the scenes development for the past several years. The Lank Bank, which acts as a virtual database for vacant land in the Philadelphia, seeks to streamline the reinvestment process and hopes to encourage the development of parcels that may otherwise remain vacant. The organization seeks to act as a tool for the assemblage of property to help transitional and declining neighborhoods develop more effectively. Thigpen described the changes going on in city policy that has changed certain processes, like Sheriff Sales, to benefit the city and provide more funding for the Lank Bank to remediate more properties. In addition to the use of geospatial analysis to target vacancy issues in Philadelphia, the Lank Bank utilizes city analytics to create a comprehensive database and “one-stop-shop” for developers. Thigpen described the process for land acquisition and differentiated the processes for vacant land and vacant buildings, which the Land Bank is now taking on. They work with various analysis methods, such as the market value analysis to target the best vacant homes to obtain for an effective neighborhood turn around. The ultimate hope, he describes, is for all of the disparate departments in Philadelphia’s municipal government to come together to streamline the redevelopment process and improve blighted areas of the city. 

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