Vacant to Vibrant: Vacant Land as Green Infrastructure

2012 - Present
Team Leader
Sandra Albro
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Project Website

Vacant to Vibrant from Great Lakes Protection Fund on Vimeo.


This project will lead to improved water quality in the Great Lakes by reducing stormwater runoff and the incidence of combined sewer overflows. To accomplish this, the team will establish a neighborhood-based network of small-parcel green infrastructure (GI) projects on vacant land in three Great Lakes cities. They will determine the potential for urban neighborhoods with an abundance of vacant land to serve as a GI network. This project will be the first to test the effectiveness of aggregated small parcels as a viable strategy for effective GI and stormwater management. It will also be the first to develop a simple GI portfolio that will be replicable across cities in the Great Lakes region. The team will work with local community partners in the cities of Buffalo, NY; Cleveland, OH; and Gary, IN—cities with high commercial and residential land vacancy; aging sewer/stormwater infrastructure; and a demonstrated interest and capacity for an interdisciplinary approach to green infrastructure.

This project is the result of a successful convening and planning phase which brought together experts from fourteen cities around the Great Lakes to assess the regional interest of reusing vacant urban lands as green infrastructure. The team will continue to develop this network by holding at least two regional meetings and by creating a regional community of practice—a Great Lakes Vacant Land and Green Infrastructure Collaborative that will engage stakeholders from the original fourteen cities and be expanded to include other stake holders from around the Great Lakes.

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