Alternative Uses for Vacant Land

Detroit, MI

Detroit grew swiftly during America’s industrial heyday but since the early 1950s has been experiencing a steady decline. Detroit is not alone in facing this challenging phenomenon. The experiences of other shrinking cities have shown that standard planning approaches do not work in this context. To address this, we made an extensive multi-variable analysis of all city-owned vacant properties. We quantified their proximity to green space, proximity to industry, how densely they cluster together, pre-development site conditions and neighborhood centrality. Resulting metrics led to ways to envision a reinvigorated natural system in conjunction with an economically viable approach to creating a healthier city as a whole.