VL Elements

Vacant land stewardship requires four fundamental elements: knowing your community’s context, having clear goals and plans, committing to collaboration, and enacting facilitative policies. These four elements will look different in every community, but they are all critical components of implementing successful vacant land stewardship. To learn more about these elements and discover some next steps for your community's learning journey, explore the element examples below. To view the presorted examples by type click on one of the following:  Plans >  Policy >  Collaboration >  Context >

Element Type

Organization

Plans
Gary Green Infrastructure Plan
City of Gary

The Gary Green Infrastructure Plan is a city-wide framework for green infrastructure. The plan integrates with broader land use planning and redevelopment efforts and details existing conditions. Importantly, it provides tools, strategies, and recommendations for project prioritization and discusses management, funding, and financing structures.

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Collaboration
St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative
St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative

“The St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative is a coalition of community members, private and nonprofit stakeholders, and City agencies committed to reducing vacant property in St. Louis. The Collaborative helps to coordinate existing vacancy efforts under one umbrella and empowers the public and private sectors to work together toward solutions. We convene committees…

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Policy
Open Data Portal – Vacant Building Dashboard
City of Baltimore

Baltimore’s Open Data Portal provides access to hundreds of datasets and interactive dashboards. The Vacant Building Dashboard shares data on number of vacant building notices, building rehabs, and demolitions. The data can be sorted and filtered by geographic bounds, time increments, and even “housing market typology.”

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Policy
Mow to Own (St. Louis)
City of St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority

The ‘Mow to Own’ Program is allows residents who own an occupied residential or commercial property to purchase adjacent vacant lots for $125. Applications are submitted to the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) Board of Commissioners for review. Following approval, the successful applicant receives a deed to the property with a two-year maintenance lien. As long as there are no violations and no complaints in that time period, the LRA will remove the maintenance lien. If there are violations, the LRA can re-acquire the property.

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Policy
Detroit Solar Toolkit
City of Detroit

The Detroit Solar Toolkit consists of five different tools to enable Detroiters to undertake the equitable deployment of solar energy as a path to a more sustainable future for residents of Detroit. The tools include an online solar map, solar design guidelines, solar building approval process, and solar policy guides…

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Collaboration
The Pollinator Project
Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy

​The Pollinator Project uses re-naturalization techniques to stabilize vacant urban land in Saginaw, MI. Through a partnership with the Saginaw County Land Bank, the Pollinator Project has transformed over half the land bank’s vacant lot inventory. Other partners, including community groups, local universities, businesses, and funders, make the Pollinator Project…

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Plans
Imagine Flint: Master Plan for a Sustainable Flint
City of Flint

The repurposing of vacant properties is a central component of Imagine Flint. Recognizing that some areas of Flint cannot continue to exist as they do today, Flint residents have chosen to adapt and transform their neighborhoods and commercial corridors into areas where innovative practices, including green neighborhoods and the green…

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Context, Plans
Heartland Conservation Alliance Vacant Lot Mapping Tools
Heartland Conservation Alliance

This mapping tool is designed to help prioritize the vacant lots that can have the most environmental and health benefits for urban communities. The tool provides parcel specific information and important contextual information like if it is in a flood plain or owned by the land bank, allowing neighbors to…

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Local Analysis, Property Tax System, State/National Analysis
From Harm to Home
Replicating Detroit's Make it Home Program

Analyzing cities that have the potential to implement a program similar to Detroit’s Make it Home, transitioning tenants to homeowners.

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Local Analysis, Vacant Land Stewardship
Progress Points: Vacant Land Stewardship in Michigan
Improving Neighborhoods by Repurposing Vacant Lots

This one-page brief explains what you need to know about why taking care of vacant lots can improve Michigan neighborhoods.

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Land Banks, Vacant Land Stewardship
Vacant Lot Greening and Community Safety
A Summary of Existing Evidence

This fact sheet summarizes key takeaways from recent studies exploring the community safety benefits associated with five common greening strategies.

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Property Tax System
Reimagine Delinquent Property Tax Enforcement
How to Reduce Vacancy, Advance Racial Equity, and Improve Public Services

This publication lays a general foundation for understanding the property tax system, but specifically focuses on ways to reform the delinquent property tax enforcement process for vacant properties—those properties that pose the greatest harm to a community.

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Code Enforcement System, Racial Equity
A Racial Equity Audit of Louisville, Kentucky’s Code Enforcement Program
Final Memo of the VPLI Local Implementation Scholarship Program

This memo details Community Progress’ work with the Louisville Municipal Government to review its code enforcement processes through a racial equity lens.

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Land Banks
The State of Land Banking 2022
An Update from the National Land Bank Network

We provide an overview of what NLBN is, the state of land banks in the United States today, and what resources land banks need to thrive.

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Land Banks
Resource Guide for Georgia Land Banks
An A-to-Z Toolkit of Sample Documents

The 2022 Resource Guide for Georgia Land Banks is designed to provide new and updated documents for land bank leaders as their operations mature and become more complex. The 2013 manual templates and example documents have proven to be essential tools for community leaders seeking to create land banks under…

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Code Enforcement System
Equitable, Efficient, and Effective Code Enforcement
A Roadmap for Decatur, Illinois

Community Progress assessed and recommended changes to Decatur’s existing approach to housing and building code enforcement, a key component of the City’s effort to stabilize and reinvest in Decatur’s neighborhoods.

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Land Banks, Property Tax System, State/National Analysis
The Scale and Cost of Blight in Michigan
A One-Page Brief

This one-page explainer provides an overview of what it would cost to tackle all of Michigan’s vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties.

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Land Banks, Local Analysis
Progress Points: Michigan Land Banks
A Brief Primer

This one-page explainer provides an overview of land banks and their impact in Michigan.

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