Making use of vacant city land with Pittsburgh's Adopt-A-Lot program | Knowledge Hub | Circle Lab
Policy case
Making use of vacant city land with Pittsburgh's Adopt-A-Lot program
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The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, created a streamlined process that lets residents access vacant city land for gardening, growing food, and creating rain gardens under the Adopt-A-Lot program.

Solution

In 2014, the City of Pittsburgh began to engage community stakeholders like GTECH, Grow Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Penn State Extension, and Tree Pittsburgh, as well as city departments involved in city land matters including Real Estate, Finance, Public Works, the Mayor's Office, and Sustainability.

Outcome

The goal was to create a streamlined process to allow residents to access city-owned vacant land to beautify their communities.The result was the publication of the "Vacant Lot Toolkit", a guide to transforming vacant lots into community assets, and the "Adopt-A-Lot program" to allow residents to access city-owned vacant lots for food, flower, or rain gardens. The program had three goals: foster neighborhood interaction, re-imagine the potential of vacant lots, and encourage environmental awareness.

In the first two years, 114 vacant lots have been transformed around the city as part of 40 community projects — a total of 10 acres of formerly vacant land now community assets.

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