Built capital is defined by Green and Haines as ” any permanent physical installations and facilities supporting productive activities in a community.” (Green, Haines 2012) In the town of Alburgh, there is a total of 1370 total available housing units, but it makes sense that a lot of these would remain unoccupied because of the town’s small population. Out of the 1370 available houses, 822 of those (60%) are occupied by a family, and the remaining 548 are vacant. (“Data Access and Dissemination Services, n.d.)
Don’t let that vacancy information surprise you. Out of the 548 vacant homes, 434 of those are vacant because they are either vacation homes or seasonal homes. (“Data Access and Dissemination Services, n.d.)
So in actuality, there aren’t a lot of housing units in Alburgh that are going under-utilized, even though they are unoccupied. If you would travel through the center of town, you would assume otherwise. When I first moved in in 2005, there used to be a few restaurants, antique shops, and other various local shops that sold goods in the center of town. Juxtapose to those shops were also a few apartment buildings. Minus the shops and those few apartments. Since 2005 almost all the shops have closed, and there are no more restaurants in the center of town. The apartments that used to be next to the shops have since been abandoned and have remained abandoned for years.
I have always hoped that the community would either open up some more shops in town to boost the local economy, or at least turn those old apartments into affordable housing units, but nothing has happened in over ten years, and it seems like nothing is going to change any time soon. Those buildings continue to be an eye sore in the town, and it’s my hope that the town of Alburgh approves a community development initiative to revitalize them.
My hope for the future of Alburgh is that the citizens will speak up and let the select board know that they want something done about those buildings. If executed correctly, this improvement of Alburgh’s built capital will help bridge improvements of other community capitals as well.
Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). (n.d.). American FactFinder. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml