Vacant Lots Ripe for Parks, and Legal Troubles

Nate Berg reports on the legal problems that can arise when a good Samaritan tries to create a park on a vacant lot.

More cities are beginning to utilize vacant lots and properties in their communities for a variety of social and economic benefits, but a similar effort in Philadelphia may not have such a happy ending. After a local businessman invested his own money into turning the vacant lot adjacent to his shop into a park, the property owner (the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority) threatened legal action unless he restores the lot to its original condition.

"This is a clear instance of good Samaritanism," writes Berg. "But it's also a clear case of someone illegally using land that does not belong to them." Berg contends that such cleanup efforts could decrease crime rates in the area and draw more visitors, but in this instance the penalty for bypassing the administrative process to achieve these benefits could undermine the entire effort.

In the end, it's a lesson learned for this local businessman and other communities about the legal issues surrounding the use of vacant land.

Full Story: The Tricky Politics of Vacant Lots

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00