Creating change and inspiring growth.

Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy, or SCEMA, exists to inform and inspire communities to create lasting change.


Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy, or SCEMA, exists to inform and inspire communities to create lasting change.

Watch our latest webinar at the link below!

Communities must do more to reclaim vacant homes and abandoned properties than just pursue abatement by demolition. Thanks to initial investments from the New York Attorney General’s Office, the City of Albany, New York has developed a collaborative cross-agency strategy to prevent, abate, and rehabilitate vacant properties. Sam Wells and Amanda Wyckoff detail the City’s innovative strategy and share practical insights that other cities can learn from and adapt to their communities.

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Visit our Events page to stay tuned for more information about our ongoing lecture series!

Reinventing Code Enforcement in Albany - Aligning Traditional Tools with Innovative Strategies

Stay tuned for SCEMA 2023, our 7th annual Academy!

Founded in 2017, SCEMA is a joint program of the University of Memphis School of Law and Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. devoted to elevating the field of code enforcement and building a network of showcase communities. SCEMA provides the rare opportunity for peer learning among code enforcement programs from diverse cities, counties, and towns that want to enhance, expand or share their transformations to strategic code enforcement.

Our sixth annual, two-day team building workshop for local government managers, attorneys and their community partners focuses on the core principles and practices of strategic code enforcement tailored to the priorities and challenges confronting each teams’ community. Strategic code enforcement is a cross-agency, data driven approach that leverages multiple partnerships to ensure compliance and enforcement actions are effective, efficient and equitable.

Strategic code compliance and enforcement is a community-based model that is essential for helping neighborhoods recover and sustain their quality of life. Embedded in the state and local policy power to protect public health, safety and security, such an approach requires the cooperation and coordination of the local public and public interest institutions and agencies whose decisions and actions are guided by sharing data and knowledge.

Thank you to all the cities who participated in SCEMA 2022:

  • St. Louis, MO

  • Syracuse, NY

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Baltimore, MD

  • Cleveland, OH

  • Covington, TN


Where is SCEMA making a difference?

  • Birmingham, AL

  • Chattanooga, TN

  • Cincinnati, OH

  • Covington, TN

  • Dallas, TX

  • Kansas City, KS

  • Little Rock, AR

  • Memphis, TN

  • Minneapolis, MN

  • Nashville, TN

  • New Orleans, LA

  • Nitro, WV

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Providence, RI

  • Puerto Rico

  • Rockford, IL

  • Saint Albans, WV

  • St. Louis, MO

  • Syracuse, NY

  • Toledo, OH

  • Union City, TN

  • White Plains, NY

  • Wyandotte County, KS

What are people saying?

 Dennis Kennedy
 Toledo, Ohio

When you live and breathe blight and vacancy every day in your professional life, you can quickly find yourself living in a vacuum, where the approach for this work can be met with the same routines.  What I found the most useful about SCEMA, was the introduction to subject matter experts on all things related to not only enforcing the code, but the genesis of why chronic nuisance issues exist in our communities.  The SCEMA staff has a true passion for this work, and you can feel that energy translate through course offerings and the lecture series.

There are not one-thousand new innovative ways to ‘do’ code enforcement, yet, SCEMA has found a path to create a network of professionals whose main focus is the support and outreach of folks doing this great work in sister cities.  Everyone is very passionate about improving quality of life for residents in our communities, and the SCEMA staff hits the target on providing useful and valuable tools and strategies for tangible outcomes.  It is for all of these reasons and many more than I could even list, I highly recommend finding yourself at the SCEMA annual conference.

Kathy Dillon
City Manager,
City of Union City Tennessee

The Union City team was fascinated by the amount of knowledge and accomplishments in one place at one time. We learned much of what we are doing right and where we need to improve or change.  We are looking forward to this conference and networking next year.

Matt Moak
Executive Director,
Community Development Administration,
City of St. Louis

There is something about working on City vacancy that affects you. It gets under your skin. I believe it has to be a part of you for you to want to work to achieve success addressing it.  It is not for everyone. The participants and instructors at the Memphis SCEMA conference had this in common.  To hear each of them present, question, offer insights and guidance with enthusiasm and determination was inspring and stirring.  It was real to connect with other urban cities in this way.  This type of work can make one feel quite alone.  Memphis brought us “loners” together. An incredible conference. Practical and intellectual, thought provoking, interactive while consistently positive and hopeful. The great cities preserve but also have to rebuild.  I felt the ability to do this at SCEMA.  Thank you.

Dana M. Malkus
Associate Dean for Experiential Education,
Associate Clinical Professor,
Supervisor, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic
Saint Louis University School of Law

SCEMA’s team-based approach and commitment to meeting workshop participants where they are was exactly what our team needed.  We came away with deeper relationships, a renewed sense of purpose, new perspectives, and some concrete ideas for action.

Who makes this possible?