The "ultra" in Ultra-Ex, a team of Cleveland-area scientists, stands for Urban Long-Term Research Area.
Michael Tortorello reports, "Along with its sci-fi name, Ultra-Ex advances a forward-looking mission: to document the ecological benefits that vacant lots might provide and to redefine the land, from neighborhood blight to community asset."
But the scope of the problem represents an enormous undertaking. After all, "[o]ne abandoned yard is a mess; 20,000 abandoned yards is an ecosystem. At this scale, Cleveland's vacant land begins to look less like a sign of neglect and more like an ecological experiment spread over some 3,600 acres," notes Tortorello.