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Making Communal Use of Vacant Lots

Over the decades many cities have suffered from population loss. This degeneration may show in the staggering amount of vacant lots and houses.

On average, 15 percent of a city’s land is vacant. The term ‘vacancy’ can pertain to many things in relation to a city. Some lands deemed vacant are abandoned houses, others brown fields or empty lots.

Even though these areas are unoccupied, sometimes deemed unsuitable for occupation, they can still cost cities considerable amounts of money.

Vacant Lots

Image source: www.terrain.org

There have been temporary fixes for these vacancies, including use as a pasture or for storage. It is a sad state of urban decay, but couldn’t the public benefit from these lots? With a little work and creativity we may be able to utilize these spaces – not as temporary fixes to lessen inconvenience, but as opportunities to improve our cities.

Composting is an ever-growing need as global population coupled with waste increases. Vacant land that is unusable for plant life could be turned into a public compost site. This would allow residents without a yard or adequate space to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner. The resulting compost could then be distributed for local soil amendment.

Neighborhood gardens, either vegetable gardens or floral gardens, not only provide local resources but also allow people to work alongside their neighbors whom they may not otherwise meet. Community gardens are sometimes run by non-profit organizations. You can also start one yourself.

Many cities allow residents and businesses to adopt city owned vacant land.

This is done through the Adopt-A-Lot program. If an available lot is suitable for gardening, with proper soil and at least six hours of sunlight daily, you may choose it as a site for your community garden. The garden will need volunteers to sustain it. Once garden members have been recruited, decide which tasks each member will be assigned. You could also agree for different member to work on certain days.

Floral gardens are another option for use of vacant land, and the surrounding community may opt to fill the garden with native plants. These native filled gardens could host demonstrations to showcase local plants and teach residents how to care for them. Thereby promoting regional plant growth and preservation.

After years of deterioration, cities are facing a chance at urban renewal. I believe it will take the citizens who occupy these cities to revolutionize the way land is used.

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