Urban Environmental Program in New England
What are Vacant Lots?
A vacant lot is a neglected parcel of property that has no buildings on it. In many cases, houses were on these lots, but as they fell into disrepair they were burned or demolished. Vacant lots are an issue of concern because they tend to attract or be subjected to illegal dumping of litter and other solid wastes. Vacant lots in urban communities are often contaminated with hazardous wastes such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and asbestos which result in unsafe conditions for children and adults. These vacant lots are not just unsightly blights on the urban landscape, and breeding grounds for rats they are a wasted resource. They disrupt a neighborhood's sense of community and lower property values. Vacant lots are also an environmental justice issue since there are significantly more vacant lots in the city's poorer neighborhoods. The main goal of vacant lot projects and policies is to reclaim these lots and move them into productive use.