Next City is hosting a live blog of the 2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference, now ongoing in Philadelphia.
With some 40,000 vacant lots, Philadelphia is no stranger to issues linked to urban land vacancy. But the city is also familiar with strategies that can not only improve individual lots, but also reduce crime and improve quality of life.
Today, 8,500 public and privately owned vacant parcels are cleaned, greened and maintained through the Philadelphia Land Care Program, a collaborative effort spearheaded by the city and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). Since the program began in 1999, it has demonstrated that the cleaning-and-greening approach has an impact beyond stabilizing the neighborhood. It has also been shown to reduce gun violence, vandalism, stress and inactivity.