Rethinking Vacant Land

The overabundance of vacant land is an epidemic affecting many of America’s legacy cities. It can be a drain on neighborhood vitality, a drag on property values, and a major management challenge for city governments. But creative thinkers across the country are beginning to see vacant land in a new light: as an opportunity to craft today’s cities into the sustainable urban environments of the future. Civic leaders and residents alike are designing and testing ways of using vacant land to manage storm water, to generate revenue, to improve public health, to contribute to community vitality, and to rebuild neighborhoods into resilient and vital communities.

The Sustainable Land Lab

The Sustainable Land Lab seeks to contribute to this movement by generating and testing ideas that reframe vacant land as an opportunity. The first phase of the Sustainable Land Lab  was a competition in Fall 2012 that challenged teams to propose innovate projects that transform vacant lots into assets that advance sustainability. Unlike many idea-generating competitions, the Sustainable Land Lab required winning teams to implement and test their proposals. Summer 2014 will be the second implementation year for the first set of winning projects. We will be building on the momentum of this first phase of the Sustainable Land Lab in the coming months. Stay tuned for the latest updates on the projects and the initiative.

See the projects come to life >>

Explore the Idea Inventory >>