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Individual Highlight

Can “cleaned and greened” lots take on the role of public greenspace?

Photo of Photos of human uses of cleaned and greened vacant lots. Photos of human uses of cleaned and greened vacant lots. Snapshot : Vacant lots are a problem that cities are increasingly addressing through greening efforts. Questions remain about if and how these green spaces are being used. A recent study sought to answer these questions and document the benefits of these attempts to improve cityscapes.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kondo, Ph.D., Michelle 
Research Location : Philadelphia, Penn.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1221


Cities are increasingly investing resources in greening vacant lots to reduce blight. Such programs could also reduce inequities in access to urban greenspace, but whether and how greened lots are used remains unclear. A Forest Service scientist and her research partners assessed 300 “cleaned and greened” lots in Philadelphia, Penn., and sought to identify common characteristics of lots that showed signs of use. Approximately 10 percent of the greened lots showed physical signs of use similar to what one might find in yard space, such as barbeques, picnic benches, and swings. Population density was the only statistically significant predictor of lot use. Research findings suggest that greened lots could provide benefits to city residents living nearby and may, to some degree, address the inequity of green space in neighborhoods where vacant lots are prevalent.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • University of Westchester