Vacant foreclosed properties dot the map of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. So think of the new Cook County land bank as housing’s Georges Seurat; it’s trying to arrange all those individual dots into something new and better (much as the pointillist painter did with A Sunday on La Grand Jatte).

According to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the land bank will attack the vacant property issue on a regional level, not one empty home at a time. That’s in part because of the enormous size of the problem. “What’s really troubling is that 10 percent of housing units in Cook County are vacant, and 85,000 [more] foreclosure cases are pending in circuit court,” Preckwinkle said February 7 at a Metropolitan Planning Council event.

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