America’s Vacant Lot Landscape

Insights from the National Survey on Greening

Author(s): Center for Community Progress, Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

As inventories of vacant lots expand across the country, organizations that own, maintain, and green vacant property are implementing innovative strategies to manage vacant lots, repurpose land, and improve neighborhoods. Yet, many of these organizations do not have sufficient resources to meet the rising need for vacant lot greening and maintenance in their communities. This report presents descriptive findings from the National Survey on Greening — conducted as part of a five-year research project between the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center and the Center for Community Progress — on the current capacity, practices, and trends these organizations are experiencing and what they still need to effectively manage their growing vacant lot inventories.

Existing scholarship has linked vacant lots and structures to elevated levels of crime, and fear of crime and violence. However, researchers and practitioners across disciplines increasingly view vacant properties as opportunities to redefine and reclaim spaces to create safe and thriving communities. Through this survey, Community Progress and MI-YVCP sought to better understand the current landscape of vacant lot
care across the United States and explores the factors that help greening programs scale up to improve public health and safety benefits for communities.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: March 2021

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