Old Cities/Green Cities (PAS 506/507)

Communities Transform Unmanaged Land

By J. Blaine Bonham, Gertrude Spilka, Darl Rastorfer

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Vacant land is a common sight in virtually every American city. Scattered among houses in residential areas, especially in distressed neighborhoods, small and large vacant, trash-filled lots contribute to an appearance of blight. Abandoned factories and warehouses-some of which are brownfields with hazardous wastes in their soil-mar waterfronts and old industrial corridors. Large metropolitan c...

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Page Count
Date Published
May 1, 2002
APA Planning Advisory Service

About the Authors

J. Blaine Bonham

Gertrude Spilka

Darl Rastorfer

Table of Contents

Part 1. Toward a new way of thinking about urban vacant land

Chapter 1: Abandoned real estate and its challenge to urban vitality • Managing vacant land • Rethinking the value of vacant urban land • The causes of vacant land • Planning considerations and jurisdictional constraints • The consequences of vacant land

Chapter 2: Vacant land as a neighborhood resource • The gardening and greening movement • Urban land trusts • Lower-density housing and open space • Comprehensive approaches to community revitalization • Greening as a revitalization tool • Urban green industries • Building green neighborhoods from within

Chapter 3: Large-scale urban greening systems • Greenways • City gateways • Former industrial sites • Making complex projects happen

Chapter 4: Brownfields and greenfields:The link between urban renewal and suburban sprawl • Obstacles to metropolitan regional planning • The issues of environmental remediation • Public land reclamation projects • Land recycling project of New Jersey • Finding regional common ground

Chapter 5: Promoting Reuse • Land: Private ownership vs public good • Public vacant land policies and practices • Municipal land inventory systems • Acquisition and disposition procedures • Land banking • Vacant land management • Comprehensive neighborhood planning • A radical proposal in Detroit • Lessons learned

Part 2 The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Chapter 6: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society helps green Philadelphia • Site-based work in the 1970 • Community-based work in the 1980 • Greening with community development corporations • City parks, high-profile downtown landscapes and city entryways • Program growth through time

Chapter 7 A Rebirth in New Kensington • A CDC tackles neighborhood decline • Transforming unmanaged parcels • Reflecting on the vacant land management program

Chapter 8 The green city strategy:An initiative for Philadelphia's renaissance • The six components of the green city strategy ò Th