Turning Grayfields Green

Zoning Practice — June 2014

By James Davenport, AICP, Connie Cooper, FAICP


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Grayfields is a collective term used to describe underperforming, obsolete, and often vacant or deteriorating commercial centers. They range in size from small strip centers, to abandoned big box buildings, to entire regional malls.

These grayfields are experiencing significant disinvestment and turning into visual blight. But for a local community, a grayfield is more than just visual blight. It means loss in tax base, job opportunities, and economic confidence, not to mention enormous development potential sitting unused or underutilized.

This issue of Zoning Practice summarizes the reasons why grayfields are proliferating, highlights how grayfields affect communities, and discusses a range of zoning strategies that can create incentives for redevelopment of grayfield sites.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2014
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

James Davenport, AICP

Connie Cooper, FAICP
CONNIE B. COOPER, FAICP, president of COOPER CONSULTING COMPANY, INC., is a long-range planning, growth management, and plan implementation professional. The firm specializes in comprehensive growth management, strategic planning, and creative land development, zoning and subdivision regulations. The firm has substantial experience in public outreach, goal setting, visioning charrettes, and many other successful endeavors in public consensus building. Connie B. Cooper, FAICP’s experience spans three decades of planning and development at the state, county, and local levels throughout the US. The FIRM Cooper Consulting Company is a nationally recognized strategic planning, public involvement and plan implementation firm. The firm specializes in strategic and long range comprehensive planning, trans-portation and economic development planning, and land development regulations. The firm is also a key provider of public outreach and goals setting, with many successful endeavors in public consensus building. Connie B. Cooper, FAICP, the president of Cooper Consulting Company, brings major strengths and val-uable perspectives to strategic planning and public outreach assignments. Her three decades of "in the trenches" local government experience and "hands on" private sector work provide clients with an enormous wealth of expertise.