Chicago To Boost Vacant Lot Sales Program

The city hopes its incentives to buyers will help convert the thousands of city-owned vacant lots into housing, green space, or other productive uses.

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October 19, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

In an effort to deter crime and create more affordable housing units in the city, Chicago is speeding up its process for selling city-owned vacant lots to buyers at a low cost. The city has identified 4,000 lots “clean and ready for sale” out of the 10,000 properties owned by the city, reports Mackenzie Hawkins for Bloomberg CityLab.

“Turning lots into housing and community spaces like gardens, playgrounds and shopping centers is part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s strategy to boost investments in the city’s south and west sides,” Hawkins explains. The endeavor is based on similar projects that have led to declines in violence and crime in other cities. “Efforts to restore vacant lots in Philadelphia reduced gun violence by 29%, burglaries by 22%, and nuisance crimes like vandalism and noise complaints by 30%, according to a study of 541 lots by researchers at Columbia University that Chicago officials have referenced when presenting their plan.”

To boost the project, “the city has allocated $87 million in federal and bond funding to vacant lot revitalization under the Chicago Recovery Plan, allowing it to undertake a comprehensive survey of all empty plots.” The lots will primarily be sold for residential construction, but the city will also accept applications for commercial and open space projects.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

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