A Comparison of Vacancy Dynamics between Growing and Shrinking Cities Using the Land Transformation Model
Department of Urban Design and Planning, Hongik University, Seoul 04066, Korea
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Architectural and Urban System Engineering, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1513; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051513
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Every city seeks opportunities to spur economic developments and, depending on its type, vacant land can be seen as a potential threat or an opportunity to achieve these developments. Although vacant land exists in all cities, the causes and effects of changes in vacant land can differ. Growing cities may have more vacant land than shrinking cities because of large scale annexation. Meanwhile, depopulation and economic downturn may increase the total amount of vacant and abandoned properties. Despite various causes of increase and decrease of vacant land, the ability to predict future vacancy patterns—where future vacant parcels may occur—could be a critical test to set up appropriate development strategies and land use policies, especially in shrinking cities, to manage urban decline and regeneration efforts more wisely. This study compares current and future vacancy patterns of a growing city (Fort Worth, TX, USA) and a shrinking city (Chicago, IL, USA), by employing the Land Transformation Model (LTM) to predict for future vacant lands. This research predicts and produces possible vacancy pattern scenarios by 2020 and deciphers the ranking of determinants of vacant land in each city type. The outcomes of this study indicate that the LTM can be useful for simulating vacancy patterns and the causes of vacancy vary in both growing and shrinking cities. Socio-economic factors such as unemployment rate and household income are powerful determinants of vacancy in a growing city, while physical and transportation-related conditions such as proximity to highways, vehicle accessibility, or building conditions show a stronger influence on increasing vacant land in a shrinking city.