Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Explore / Water

In this category, creative solutions for managing stormwater and street runoff appear side by side with irrigation systems, canals, and fountains. Water solutions for cities range from networks of streetside swales to small-footprint greenhouses occupying single vacant lots. Emphasis is placed on reducing impermeable surfaces in cities—these include rooftops, sidewalks, and traditionally paved surfaces like playgrounds and basketball courts.

Railroad adjacencies and large tracts of vacant land act as large event spaces and take the place of traditional “commons.”

Biodelphia

Philadelphia, PA

Integrating biotechnology and the urban fabric.

Idea
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.

Completed
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.

Completed
One of two flow-through planter boxes framing the entrance to the Waterview Recreation Center.  (Flickr: philastories)

Waterview Recreation Center

Philadelphia, PA

A renovated community center incorporates streetside features to manage stormwater.

Completed
Grupo Desiño Urbano’s illustrative master plan identifies three main landscape zones, a mix of geometric shapes and curvilinear forms.

Xochimilco Ecological Park

Mexico City,

A large-scale ecological restoration and productive landscape inspired by Xochimilco's landscape history.

Completed
Aerial view of Mill Race Park shows its location in downtown Columbus, Indiana.

Mill Race Park

Columbus, OH

A landscape of large views and spaces, designed to be flooded.

Completed
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.

Completed
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.

Idea
The Produce Garden will sit side-by-side with a recreation field and basketball court.

Timescapes

Philadelphia, PA

Taking back the backyard

Idea