VLAS: Vacant Land Assessment System for Urban Renewal and Greenspace Planning in Legacy Cities
- What are the current distribution and characteristics of city-owned vacant lands in the North Hartford Promise Zone (NHPZ)?
- What are the potential strategies for reclaiming vacant lots systematically across the entire NHPZ?
- What kind of sustainable site design strategies can be utilized when transforming vacant/blighted lots into public greenspaces?
2.1. Study Area
2.2. Multi-Scale Vacant Land Assessment System (VLAS)
2.2.1. Vacant Lot Distribution, Characteristics, and Socioecological Contexts
2.2.2. Vacant Lot Typologies and Potential Programs
2.3. Neighborhood Scale Analysis and Site Scale Vacant Lot Greening Design Example
3.1. Vacant Lot Distribution, Characteristics, and Socioecological Contexts
3.2. Vacant Lot Typologies and Potential Programs
3.3. Neighborhood Scale Analysis and Site Scale Vacant Lot Greening Design Example
- Brownfield Phytoremediation Technique: Given that the vacant site was a brownfield contaminated with the chemicals from an old gas station, phytoremediation was adapted into the design concept. This method uses selected plants to degrade organics, extract pollutants in the 0–5′ deep soil zone and stabilize non-bio-available inorganics . The technique was applied to the northwestern part of the site, which was moted as a brownfield and designed as a remediation urban forest;
- Eco-revelatory Design Strategy: This strategy was incorporated into the design plan through a proposed rain garden at the southeastern corner of the site, complete with demonstration signages explaining how the rain gardens work. The rain garden design includes a daylight micro-water channel near benches, which reveals the water flow and stimulates public awareness and children’s curiosity about natural processes;
- Green Stormwater Infrastructure: In addition to the rain garden, the Green Street Program, inspired by the City of Portland, OR , was adopted into the design concept. By incorporating vegetated facilities on the sidewalk and increasing tree canopy, stormwater runoff can be reduced by natural systems, which in turn improves water quality and enhances watershed health . This approach also encourages public stewardship by allowing residents to contribute to vegetation clean-up and occasional weeding;
- Tactical Urbanism: This strategy involves temporary design installations that are low-cost and low-maintenance. To promote pedestrian safety and strengthen community identity, the Dots Street Painting idea was proposed in the design (Figure A4). The street painting highlights the pedestrian routes in complex transportation crossing areas, increasing drivers’ caution. The painting process can engage public participation and community organizations’ efforts through neighborhood events or volunteer activities.
4. Discussion and Conclusions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|Typology||Aerial Map||Exampled Lots||Example Images||Potential Reclaimed Use|
|Public Open space|
Retrofitted Buildings +
|Main Street||Public Open space with a variety of site programs:|
-Nature in city/Biodiversity
-Health and Wellness
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Zhang, P.; Park, S. VLAS: Vacant Land Assessment System for Urban Renewal and Greenspace Planning in Legacy Cities. Sustainability 2023, 15, 9525. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129525
Zhang P, Park S. VLAS: Vacant Land Assessment System for Urban Renewal and Greenspace Planning in Legacy Cities. Sustainability. 2023; 15(12):9525. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129525Chicago/Turabian Style
Zhang, Pan, and Sohyun Park. 2023. "VLAS: Vacant Land Assessment System for Urban Renewal and Greenspace Planning in Legacy Cities" Sustainability 15, no. 12: 9525. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129525