An incremental approach to reclaiming vacant lots.
Use the Grow section to explore innovative methods for planting, growing, farming, harvesting, reforesting, and building productive landscapes. This Category covers subject areas like urban agriculture, community gardening, and urban forestry. Issues addressed include food security, soil science, nutrition, and the socioeconomic importance of safe food production.
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.
Alternative energy sources available in urban contexts include solar power, wind power, and biofuels. Efficient green-building solutions and varied methods of bioremediation—preparing polluted urban soil for other uses—also appear in this diverse Category.
Public space, education, recreation, and safety are serious considerations for anyone rehabilitating urban vacant lots. Explore the Play Category to find inspiring designs combining all of these elements in parks, community centers, playgrounds, and alternative transportation systems.
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.
More space means bigger opportunities: long-term, large-scale operations working to fit the needs of entire neighborhoods. Lots of Lots collects examples of—and ideas for—rehabilitating former industrial sites, entire blocks, and other big vacant sites requiring complex planning. Projects like these offer city governments and corporations the chance to support communities through funding, operational support, and policy change.
Building Corridors brings together populations, businesses, and neighborhoods never before in close contact. Explore this Category to learn how urban networks of all kinds—from bicycle lanes to trail systems to small-scale barter economies—can capitalize on vacant properties to effect citywide change.