Vacant Lots

View of Chicago street with vacant lot and brick building, snow on the ground, at night.

Report: One-Third of Vacant Lots in Chicago Near Transit

Vacant lots pose challenges for the city’s goals of promoting transit-oriented development.

April 2, 2024 - Chicago Tribune

Close-up of man painting white and yellow crosswalk on asphalt.

Guerilla Urbanism: Small Interventions, Big Impact

Citizen-led projects can lead to broader changes — if cities will listen.

March 24, 2024 - Congress For New Urbanism

View of Washington D.C. Capitol dome through high-rise buildings in various states of construction.

DC ‘Vacant to Vibrant’ Properties Remain Vacant

The city auctioned off 58 lots at low prices to stimulate housing development. Half are still vacant.

December 14, 2023 - The Washington Post

Empty asphalt parking lot with blue wall in background with Atlanta painted in orange letters.

Parking Takes up One-Quarter of Downtown Atlanta

The city’s downtown core devotes an abnormally high percentage of its historic blocks to parking.

November 9, 2023 - Urbanize Atlanta

Abandoned, decaying building behind locked chain link fence in Atlanta, Georgia

Map Identifies DeKalb County Brownfield Sites

The GIS tool is designed to help developers find vacant and blighted lots that could be restored for new housing or other uses.

July 12, 2023 - Urbanize Atlanta

Google street view of vacant lot in Phoenix, Arizona with palm trees in foreground

Phoenix Moves to Build Affordable Housing on City-Owned Land

The city has so far issued two requests for proposals from developers to build mixed-income housing on city-owned lots.

July 10, 2023 - Arizona Republic

Google street view of empty parking lot in Los Angeles

Group Urges L.A. to Build Housing on Vacant Lots

A survey of city-owned vacant lots identifies properties that could be developed into affordable housing or shelter.

June 22, 2023 - Los Angeles Times

Vacant grassy lot with some cemet debris in Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Mayor Proposes Vacant Lot Tax

A new tax plan would reform the city’s famously low vacancy tax rates in an effort to stimulate more housing development and limit speculation.

June 11, 2023 - Urbanize Detroit

A vacant lot between two one-story brick buildings with graffiti in Detroit, Michigan

Proposed Land Value Tax Plan in Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan proposes hiking property taxes for vacant land and buildings while lowering the rate for occupied homes and businesses in a split tax plan he contends will resolve many of Detroit's blight and high property tax woes.

June 2, 2023 - The Detroit News

Google street view of vacant lot used for parking and surrounded by chain link fence and shrubbery in East New York

New Yorkers Need Land. NYPD is Sitting on Nearly 150 Lots.

A new map reveals how much land in New York City is being wasted by city police—often sitting vacant, rather than serving the public good.

May 23, 2023 - Shelterforce Magazine

View of Philadelphia City Hall building at sunset

Philadelphia Mayor Hopefuls Want More Affordable Housing on Vacant Lots

Many of the candidates agree that a slow, complex sales process and strong councilmanic prerogative hinder the development of city-owned lots.

April 14, 2023 - WHYY

View of vacant lot in Manhattan through chain link fence

How Low Land Taxes Contribute to the Housing Shortage

The relatively low cost of holding on to vacant lots leads to underdevelopment in what are often prime residential areas.

November 23, 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Vacant lot in Chicago, Illinois with skyline in background

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.

October 19, 2022 - Bloomberg CityLab

Community garden in Chicago, Illinois with view of city skyline

How Abandoned Properties Can Be Used for Redevelopment

Abandoned properties can be a burden on a community, bringing everything from negative curb appeal to an increase in crime. Using these properties for positive community development can kill two birds with one stone.

July 7, 2022 - Devin Partida

 The Young Apartments — 1621 South Grand Avenue, at the southern end of Downtown Los Angeles.

California Not Creating Affordable Housing Quickly Enough, Audit Finds

The audit points to inefficiencies in the state's process for identifying and using surplus properties to create affordable housing.

March 30, 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

Vacant Lot

The Importance of Unintentional Nature in Cities

A new book argues in favor of spontaneous, informal natural spaces.

March 14, 2022 - Bloomberg CityLab


Opinion: Richmond, Virginia Needs a Land Value Tax

Switching from property tax to a land value tax could rein in sprawl, boost urban density, and lower the cost of housing.

December 27, 2021 - Virginia Public Media

Detroit Vacant Properties

Detroit Residents Find it Hard to Access Land Bank Properties

Longtime residents say the city is not fulfilling its goal of keeping vacant parcels in the hands of locals as property values rise steeply.

August 19, 2021 - Outlier Media

Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston Residents Want to Build Pocket Parks on City-Owned Lots

In a park-poor neighborhood, vacant lots provide an untapped opportunity for small-scale parks.

April 26, 2021 - Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research


Newark Launches Land Bank to Revive Long-Vacant Properties

The land bank will assess proposals for the sale and redevelopment of 100 city-owned properties in neglected neighborhoods.

March 7, 2021 - Next City

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