|This is what blight looks like, but it's not in N-town.|
The Urban Dictionary defines "urban blight" as "consisting of the deterioration of part of a town or city due to ageing, neglect, and lack of financial support for maintenance."
Collins English Dictionary defines it as "the decay and deterioration of an urban area due to neglect or age."
The first coinage of the term was used to mean a whole section of a city. It came from the type of plant blight that not only kills one plant, but spreads. But more recently, urban blight can also be used in terms of "a blighted property"--say, a single house that's been abandoned or neglected by the owner until it falls into obvious disrepair and ruin. It's used to describe man-made structures, not empty lots, or at least, a combination of both if the lots look, for instance, like Montgomery Hospital's does at the moment. That's why we have a law that says if you demolish a building, the lot must be planted in grass, so it becomes green space.
We have a few blighted properties in town, mostly rental properties neglected by their landlords. There are a few areas of town where you have more of these properties than others, and our riverfront has abandoned industrial buildings, but in Norristown where people are actually living, we don't have whole sections of our town that could be called blighted.
So, to summarize, if you see something in Norristown that looks like the photo at the top of this article, fine, call it blight. (Those properties, by the way, are in Philadelphia.) But where Norristown has real urban blight, let's fix it before it spreads. Remember, "blight" is a strong, negative word--a word that, for the most part, Norristown doesn't deserve. The vast majority of residents don't neglect their properties and they should be applauded, not insulted.