Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Explore / Lots

Small solutions can often be the most accessible for individuals and communities, while producing the greatest positive impact. Explore our solutions for Lots to find compact architectural structures, mobile education units, pocket gardens, greenhouses, hydroponic beds, and many other projects for pocket-sized spaces.

How much can one acre yield?  A city rife with vacant lots is a city ripe with potential.


Philadelphia, PA

Using neighborhood ownership of urban farms to support local businesses and food security.

The composted soil is used to construct a new ground.

Horizontal Integration

Philadelphia, PA

A public park and soil farm constructed from Delaware River dredge material.

Neighboring buildings provide structural support for a tiered performance space.

Insert Use

Philadelphia, PA

An incremental approach to reclaiming vacant lots.

Exterior and interior of an abandoned house on LaClede Avenue, one of many left vacant thanks to Youngstown's housing surplus.

Lots of Green

Youngstown, OH

An ambitious plan to comprehensively repurpose a neighborhood's vacant properties.

The new Cliveden Park in spring.  (Linda Walczak / Philadelphia Green)

Cliveden Park

Philadelphia, PA

This Philadelphia park renovation demonstrates minimally invasive techniques for stormwater management through topographic manipulation.

A vast array of playground equipment and surfaces populate South Philadelphia's Herron Park.  (Philadelphia Water Department)

Herron Playground

Philadelphia, PA

Water plays a major role in a South Philadelphia playground, from recreation to green infrastructure.

The external wall of the skate lab plainly shows its tire underpinnings.  (Dan Hughes,

Green Skate Laboratory

Washington, DC

A multi-purpose environmental education space, combining physical laboratory, classroom, and skateboarding bowl.

Photo from The-Food-Project on Flickr

The Food Project

Boston, MA

Boston-area youth education programs in urban, suburban, and rural agriculture.

Photo by Flickr user davidgljay

Green Guerillas

New York, NY

Community gardening and activism in New York City

Added Value is a non-profit organization promoting the sustainable development of Red Hook by nurturing a new generation of young leaders.

Added Value

Brooklyn, NY

An organization to promote the sustainable development of Red Hook by nurturing a new generation of young leaders

Photo by Flickr user ItzaFineDay

Urban Farming

Southfield, MI

Grassroots urban agriculture organization in Detroit.

Flickr: ericrichardson

Not A Cornfield

Los Angeles, CA

Landscape and memory: an agricultural monument in Los Angeles

Growing Power's water catchment system.

Growing Power

Milwaukee, WI

A Milwaukee-based nonprofit offering training, demonstration, outreach, and technical assistance in urban agriculture.

Row houses and hoop houses coexist peacefully at Greensgrow’s Kensington location.

Greensgrow Farms

Philadelphia, PA

A nursery, farm market, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Philadelphia, PA

A student team composed of Kiki Brown, Mary Huynh, and Carson Sio designed a vertical planting unit for homegrown produce.

Farm Philly

Philadelphia, PA

Student designs: new techniques for urban farming

Hydroponic greenhouses include systems for cleaning waste water and re-using grey water for agricultural production.

Green for Green

Philadelphia, PA

Small-scale, low-cost solutions to stormwater management and soil degradation.

Dense planting in a suburban backyard, the result of a permablitz.

Permablitz Melbourne


Making the Australian suburbs edible, one permaculture blitz at a time.

by Flickr user pwbaker

Weaver's Way Co-op

Philadelphia, PA

A model farm and co-op in Philadelphia, with diverse yet integrated operations.