Rural Blight

53 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2018 Last revised: 28 Feb 2019

See all articles by Ann Eisenberg

Ann Eisenberg

West Virginia University College of Law; University of South Carolina - Joseph F. Rice School of Law

Date Written: July 30, 2018


Vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated buildings plague rural communities, yet little legal scholarship examines the law and policy questions surrounding blighted properties in non-urban environments. This Article proposes a definition and solutions for rural blight that take rural communities’ common characteristics into account, with the aim of either strengthening rural local governments to better handle the weighty task of blight remediation, or relieving them of the task by shifting some of the burden toward the state and regional level. Rural America, often portrayed as “forgotten” or “dying,” has an uncertain road before it. The question of how society as a whole approaches the decaying rural built environment—which will in turn affect rural safety, health, economics, aesthetics, and overall quality of life—will play an important role in shaping that fate.

Keywords: land use, local government, community development, rural development, property, housing, blight, environmental justice

Suggested Citation

Eisenberg, Ann, Rural Blight (July 30, 2018). Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 12, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Ann Eisenberg (Contact Author)

West Virginia University College of Law ( email )

101 Law School Drive
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

University of South Carolina - Joseph F. Rice School of Law ( email )

1525 Gervais St.
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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