Vacant Land Keys to Success

Lessons from the Field on Vacant Lot Greening

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

Vacant lots present an opportunity to redefine and reclaim spaces to create safe and thriving communities. Maintaining and greening vacant lots creates inviting spaces that can address environmental issues and increase access to healthy food. Greened lots can boost residents’ access to green space, with all of the associated mental and physical health benefits. Reclaimed vacant land can also improve a community’s sense of identity and strengthen the social fabric of neighborhoods.

Keys to Success: Lessons from the Field, reports on findings from a six-year research project exploring greening as a method to reduce youth violence and injury. As part of the research project, the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center and the Center for Community Progress collaborated to identify the practices that help greening organizations (i.e. community organizations, nonprofits, land banks) meet the rising demand for vacant lot care across the country. This publication is a companion to the America’s Vacant Lot Landscape: Insights from the National Survey on Greening.

Every community’s local context is unique – with varying resources, partnerships, and legal context – requiring tailored, locally relevant solutions. Though local context determines how these factors present, our research identified several universal key components that advance the efficiency, responsiveness and long-term sustainability of greening programs. These components include:

  • Resident Engagement
  • Partnerships
  • Planning
  • Land Access & Acquisition
  • Dedicated Capacity
  • Sustainable Funding

The Keys to Success Guide details these components, highlights why they are important to vacant lot greening, and provides practitioner insights to support their implementation. While each Key is important on its own, the scale of success will ultimately require robust implementation of all.

Download this publication for all the Keys to Success in one PDF, or download the individual Key briefs at the links above.

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

Published: March 2021

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