Talking about lawns and blight in the same breath seems overblown in some senses. But unkempt front yards are actually a very big deal because people will judge a community based on what it looks like. Is this a place where residents invest in their neighborhood or have they stopped believing in the future of their community?
I’m not talking about the one house on the block that is usually mowed, but has struggled over the past few months because the owner has been sick. This is more of a deep-seated issue where overgrown lawns have become a part of the normative and acceptable lifestyle in a neighborhood. On one hand it is only grass we’re talking about, but it’s really a sign of subdivision decay that can spread like a virus and encourage other forms of blight to take root also. A lawn may be a small thing, but if you begin to add up other examples of blight on top of unkempt lawns, it takes a huge toll on the ethos of a community and it definitely decreases property value.
Dealing with the “small things” like mowing the lawn is a perfect example of how “The Broken Windows Theory” works in a neighborhood. See the video below.
The notion of being a contributor to the health of a community is seldom on the radar in today’s society. We like to think we can simply exist on parcel islands in our subdivisions and believe what we do (or don’t do) carries little consequence for others. The truth is when residents begin to build high fences, stop mowing lawns and esseentially check out of the community, it makes an impact on everyone else. Our neighborhoods will thrive only when we begin to act on the belief that each household has a role to play for the sake of the entire community.
Questions: How have you seen a lack of lawn-mowing impact a community? What is the starting point for reversing the trend in a neighborhood where lawns are perpetually unkempt? How do you think new subdivisions should deal with unekmpt lawns due to unmanaged vacant foreclosures?
This is post #3 in “Blight Week” on the Sacramento Appraisal Blog
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Tom Horn says
The one thing about the lawn is that it is an easy fix and does not cost very much. Very good topic this week Ryan.
Ryan Lundquist says
You are so right, Tom. It makes an enormous difference in the look of a neighborhood when lawns are nicely kept. I now use an electric mower, so it costs even less on my property since gas prices have gone up.