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.

Read Time: 1 minute

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

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of dense single-family homes in neighborhood still under construction

How Virginia Counties Use Zoning to Stifle Development

Some state legislators are proposing action at the state level as counties block development using zoning and development requirements even as housing prices rise sharply in the region.

January 23, 2023 - The Virginia Mercury

New York City Coronavirus

The Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Remake Downtown

Urban cores around the country were transforming into live, work, and play destinations before the pandemic. The pandemic was a setback for this transformation, but it could also be a rare opportunity. It’s up to city leadership to seize it.

January 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Rendering of red seven-story student housing building with students walking in open grassy plaza in front of building

L.A. Times Editorial Board Calls for CEQA Reform

The Board argues that the environmental law, while important, has too often been ‘weaponized’ by NIMBY groups to delay or halt housing development.

13 minutes ago - Los Angeles Times

Seattle buses in line at a depot with Seattle skyline in background

Seattle Brings Free Transit to Public Housing

Linking transit programs to housing can lower administrative costs and streamline the process for riders.

1 hour ago - Route Fifty

Broad street in downtown Columbus, Ohio with two pedestrians in crosswalk

Columbus Could Lower Downtown Speed Limits

The city council will vote on a proposal to lower speed limits to 25 miles per hour to improve safety and make downtown more walkable and welcoming to pedestrians.

2 hours ago - The Columbus Dispatch