Vacant land stewardship is the comprehensive repurposing and maintenance of vacant lots in a community in service to community needs, priorities, and goals.
Strong, equitable communities require every lot fulfilling a purpose in service of the community’s vision. Vacant lots make up a majority of vacant property inventories—over 75 percent according to our 2019 National Survey on Greening. Most of those hundreds of thousands of lots are purposeless and detracting from residents’ quality of life. In many places, vacant land can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Yet, vacant land presents incredible opportunity. It is one of our greatest assets, and most finite resources, to address some of our most pressing challenges—healthy food access, stormwater management, aging infrastructure, natural ecosystems, safe neighborhoods, community wealth, and more. Residents and neighborhood groups in communities large and small recognize this opportunity and are repurposing lots to improve their neighborhoods. Yet, vacant land remains a significant untapped resource community wide change and few (if any) places have all the elements needed to address their full inventories of vacant lots.
Community Progress sees the growing challenge of vacant land in communities we serve and the slow pace at which that space is moving forward. While it is important to acknowledge both the past and current context, we must look to the future to anticipate how best to support the evolving needs of people and their communities. You will find these pages full of resources to inform you, inspire you, and ultimately help you implement vacant land stewardship.
This resource center will be continually growing, check back often for updates and sign up for our newsletter to get the latest. We look forward to growing our collective knowledge and helping communities move towards vacant land stewardship.
Vacant Land Stewardship Resources
Vacant land stewardship requires knowing your community’s context, having clear goals and plans, significant collaboration, and facilitative policies. Visit the Elements Page to learn how you can advance your community’s stewardship work.