Brent Lane

Brent Lane

Senior Executive in Residence at the Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Service

Brent Lane is a Senior Executive in Residence at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service at Ohio University, which he joined in 2020. In his career he has been an early-stage venture capitalist, developed and run business incubators, led state-level economic development programs teams, and directed a university applied economic strategies center. At the Voinovich School he designs and leads in analyses of novel economic and community development opportunities in Appalachian Ohio, especially those capitalizing on the region’s distinctive cultural and natural heritage assets. Brent has earned masters’ degrees in science and technology policy from the George Washington University and in business administration from the University of North Carolina.

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Dana L. Wiley Gallery - 1st Floor

Historic Properties and Affordable Housing in Ohio's Appalachia Region

Most small towns in rural Ohio are blighted by older homes in varying states of dilapidation. Many of these homes are no longer occupied or even occupiable. Often these houses, while perhaps lacking in historical significance, nonetheless are representative of their communities’ cultural heritage. Thus, their loss, in addition to being a significant economic negative and a loss of affordable housing stock, also constitutes an erosion of architectural distinctness and community identify. But unlike historic properties, for which numerous programs exist to encourage and support their preservation, such “heritage housing” has received little comparable attention. This phenomenon presents an opportunity in which the rehabilitation of older housing stock can improve affordable first-time home ownership while generating employment, income, and wealth, and preserving community identity. Mr. Lane will discuss his research at the Ohio University Voinovich School of leadership and Public Service which examined the opportunity to enhance Athens County’s supply of more affordable housing through the rehabilitation of older single-family houses – “heritage houses” - that have fallen into disrepair and are uninhabited. In this study, the term “attainable heritage housing” was coined to describe existing older home in need of repair, that are priced below conventional definitions of affordability and which - while typically lacking in historical significance, are nonetheless distinctly representative of their communities’ pasts. The study found that a program of targeted older house rehabilitation could produce significant short- and long-term positive economic impacts for current and prospective residents, while enhancing a community’s position to leverage aesthetic heritage distinctiveness to capitalize on emergent economic opportunities.