Making Productive Use of Vacant Land

Vacant Lots on your Hands? Let the Neighborhood Take Charge

Dozens of vacant lots are scattered throughout the Green Development Zone and all across the West Side. PUSH sees this vacant land—often deemed a sign of urban decline, as a source of opportunity and neighborhood revitalization.

This land use map of the West Side shows vacant properties in black.

PUSH’s sister organization, the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) first showed the way when it founded its model Urban Farm on vacant land in the heart of the Green Development Zone, which produces tons of fresh vegetables and fish for local consumption.

Since then, PUSH has acquired numerous vacant properties and renovated them as community gardens and rain gardens, among many other uses.

In addition, PUSH led a successful campaign to free up resources for the revitalization of a long-neglected city park in the heart of the Green Development Zone.

In June 2012 residents gathered from across the West Side to celebrate the completion of Phase I of the renovation of the Massachusetts Avenue Park. Further construction will continue in the coming year.

As a result of all of this work, former vacant eyesores are now expanding food security, food justice, environmental management, energy infrastructure, and recreational opportunities on the West Side.