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Urban vacant land typology: A tool for managing urban vacant land

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Kim, Gunwoo ; Miller, Patrick A.; Nowak, David J.

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Sustainable Cities and Society


A typology of urban vacant land was developed, using Roanoke, Virginia, as the study area. A comprehensive literature review, field measurements and observations, including photographs, and quantitative based approach to assessing vacant land forest structure and values (i-Tree Eco sampling) were utilized, along with aerial photo interpretation, and ground-truthing methods, to identify and catalog vacant parcels of land.; The following types of urban vacant land were identified: post-industrial (3.34 km²), derelict (4.01 km²), unattended with vegetation (17.3 km²), natural (2.78 km²), and transportation-related (5.01 km²). Unattended with vegetation sites can be important resources that support urban ecosystem health; the most effective ecosystem benefits occur in natural sites based on their per-ha value. The redesign of post-industrial sites could build a city's image, while transportation-related sites can contribute a green infrastructure network of open spaces across a city. This typological study could have significant implications for policy development, and for planners and designers seeking to utilize urban vacant land to the best advantage.


Typology; Field measurement and observations; i-Tree Eco sampling; Ground-truthing method; i-Tree Canopy; Ecosystem benefits


Kim, Gunwoo; Miller, Patrick A.; Nowak, David J. 2018. Urban vacant land typology: A tool for managing urban vacant land. Sustainable Cities and Society. 36: 144-156.

Last updated on: June 14, 2018