Map: Chicago Has a Lot of Developable Land

An interactive map from Chicago Cityscape shows all of the city's parking lots, vacant spaces, and city-owned land. Not all of it is truly vacant, or developable, but the map shows how much scope remains for new construction.
November 27, 2016, 1pm PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Bernt Rostad

The folks over at Chicago Cityscape have upgraded their Property Finder map. According to founder Steven Vance, "The map's intention has always been straightforward: use open data to show all the land that is sitting there, across the city, but definitely concentrated in a few areas, waiting to be developed."

Categories of land include vacant spaces and portions of land owned by the city. The map also shows "over 4,600 parking lots, both surface and garage. Since the parking lots dataset comes from OpenStreetMap, where many individuals have drawn them in by hand, there are hundreds that have yet to be added."

Of course, not all the city-owned land is truly vacant, and neither is all the land labeled vacant. "The vacant land dataset, which comes from the Cook County Tax Assessor, is imperfect, too. It marks the space between buildings as vacant when they’re really not (used for driveways, garages, yards)."

Still, the map gives us an idea of where major infill development could occur. The majority of city-owned and vacant property is located in lower-income neighborhoods, both on the South Side (mostly west of the Dan Ryan Expressway), and west of downtown around Garfield Park and Lawndale. Parking lots are thickly spread south and west of the Loop, and along the river to the north. 

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Published on Thursday, October 27, 2016 in Chicago Cityscape
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