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VACANT CITIES Gould Evans Design Research Studio KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning KU School of Business


Introduction The Research: Students selected to participate in the Fall 2015 Gould Evans Design Research Studio have embraced one of the most critical challenges facing hundreds of blighted communities that contribute to our country’s metropolitan network—vacancy. The vacant lot is a contagious place. One lot drags down neighborhood property values, which leads to disinvestment in neighborhood property. This can deter banks from lending money for improvements and new tenant occupation, causing the vacancies to multiply. Most land banks also view the land as community assets, although not as creatively as we do. We see these vacancies as a potential asset to the community: providing a unique opportunity to create what we are calling a new ‘social infrastructure’ which will enhance the social value of the city.

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Testing ideas within our neighboring Kansas City, KS (KCK) community has garnered the attention of elected officials, small business owners, nonprofits, activists, and general community members. Asking what if has created a new platform that allows the community to reflect upon what the city could be, rather than looking at what the city has been. The product of our work is a deliverable, for communities like KCK, to initiate a discussion for what could/ should be a bigger plan for developing a city from the community up. It focuses on a comprehensive plan for diversity of place-making and social engagement.

The Team: The Gould Evans Design Research Studio is a multidisciplinary think tank comprised of architects, designers, engineers, anthropologists, sociologists, accountants, as well as many other collaborators. Our aim is to leverage dissimilar viewpoints to make discoveries and innovations in the fields of design and architecture.

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


CITY PROBLEMS = GLOBAL PROBLEMS

LABORATORY KCK & EARLY IDEAS


VACANT LOTS: FROM LIABILITY TO OPPORTUNITY

FUTURE STUDY


Process In this research studio, we did not have a set agenda or path that we had to follow. Because of this flexibility, we were able to avoid taking our studies in a direction that may not have accurately conveyed the full story of what is happening in Kansas City, KS. We could explore provocative ideas that were uncovered through our research. The first step in our research process was to fully understand what makes up the Kansas City, KS community from the individuals that know it the best—the residents. We used geographical information system (GIS), a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data, to dive deeper into what we learned from the community. Next, we met with community leaders to ask questions about any interesting topics that stood out to us. And finally, we searched for precedents that could help us understand what is being done elsewhere and how we could leverage their successes and failures with our own ideas.


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Gould Evans Design Research Studio


The majority of the world now lives in cities.


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Patterns of Concentration When we look at cities around the world, we immediately recognize that while no two cities are exactly alike, they do share similar patterns. For example, issues like concentrated poverty and low educational attainment have a tendency to overlap. Other issues like vacancy, racial tension, crime, lack of ownership, and poor healthcare have a tendency to overlap and are repeated in concentration across every city we have ever built. We begin this first section by looking at cities across the United States. We limited our initial research to one country to ensure a consistent data set, the US Census. Some examples, like Detroit, were chosen because they’ve become a “poster child� for a specific issue like vacancy rates. Other cities were chosen as examples of specific social and economic issues that are common to US cities.

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Cities Across the United States Cities across the United States share similar problems. Issues like poverty, educational attainment, low access to healthcare, and vacancy plague nearly every city in the United States, and also the world abroad. These issues impact major cities and small ones as well. Every city in the world must deal with these problems in one way or another, and the future of our cities depends on how we deal with these issues.

SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN MINNEAPOLIS... FAIL TO GRADUATE OVER HALF OF THEIR STUDENTS

Our studio looked at six major problems in various cities across the United States. Some, like vacancy in Detroit, were highly publicized while others are quite typical for a major metropolitan area. It’s the consistencies that we’re looking to address with our research, and in doing so, we will uncover the common denominators in all cities that we can use to rethink development and growth.

LOS ANGELES IS A HIGHLY DIVERSE CITY... 3 OF EVERY 4 PEOPLE ARE RACIAL MINORITIES

66% OF ADULTS IN THE HOUSTON AREA... ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE


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1 IN 4 PROPERTIES IN DETROIT IS ABANDONED... THAT IS OVER 100,000 VACANT PROPERTIES

ALMOST HALF OF ATLANTA STUDENTS... WILL DROP OUT OF SCHOOL

NEARLY 20% OF MIAMI... LIVES IN POVERTY

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Case Study: Poverty in Atlanta The City of Atlanta is a growing metropolis in the heart of Georgia. With its growth over the years, the poverty rate has increased to nearly 25 percent of residents with an income below the poverty level. The map of Atlanta below highlights areas of poverty primarily concentrated in the city center and nearby urban

= Below Poverty Line = Above Poverty Line

neighborhoods. One dot represents 50 people and the orange dots slightly overshadow the gray dots in order to represent a greater contrast in data. The poverty rate in Atlanta broken down on racial lines provides us with some startling facts. The majority of poor residents are Black and the second largest are White.

These data points paint a common picture found in many metropolitan areas throughout the US which stems from development in outlying areas. This creates a ‘doughnut hole’ effect in the city center, thereby concentrating and exacerbating poverty. Our research seeks to turn around this poverty inducing paradigm and aid in the creation of a healthy city.


Case Study: Graduation Rates in Dallas Education is a vital component of any metropolitan area and the City of Dallas is no exception. Although education will continue to be an irreplaceable aspect of any community, the rate of graduation will determine its viability as an entity to foster learning and growth. Similar to many urban areas, the public school system of Dallas has experienced a number of shortfalls. Only 68 percent

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of high school students graduate in four years and approximately 87 percent of students are eligible for a free or reduced lunch. This allows us to postulate a number of students come from families of a modest income level.

residential zones and suburban. This dichotomy brings up the issue of wealth and education levels. The higher level education you can attain, the higher your chances of receiving a suitable income above the poverty level will be.

As the map below indicates, the level of graduation rates has a strong correlation between proximity to the city center or rather the divide between urban

Creating an equitable education system for people of all income levels in Dallas will be greatly beneficial for a prosperous society.

= Less than High School = High School or Higher Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Case Study: Healthcare in St. Louis The map below shows the relationship between insured and uninsured residents in the St. Louis metropolitan area. We selected St. Louis as our benchmark for comparison, because of its close proximity to KCK. This allows us to examine the similarities and differences between the two cities. We observed that St. Louis is a very typical representation of a postindustrial Midwest city, like KCK.

= Uninsured Residents = Insured Residents

On the map below, one dot represents 50 people, indicating whether the person is insured or uninsured based on the color of the dot. There is a much higher percentage of uninsured residents along the east side of St. Louis, and the number of uninsured residents slowly decreases as the maps progresses to the west. We see this same common trend when we look at the GIS mapping for the Kansas

City, KS area. Both metropolises are facing the same recurring issue of population movement out of the urban core and into the outer areas of the metropolitan. Movement out of the urban core has been a popular trend with the availability of personal transportation and more sophisticated infrastructure. There are prominent clusters of uninsured residents, which caused us to wonder what factors could be causing this clustering in KCK.


Case Study: Racial Diversity in Denver We selected Denver to be our benchmark based on an article, Aurora, Colorado, Tries To Capitalize On Its Ethnic Riches. Aurora is a suburb of Denver that has a strong presence of minority individuals in the community. There is a belief that as these individuals grow economically, the community will grow as well. This community growth is evident in Aurora as one-third of the businesses are owned by minorities.

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Aurora, and Denver as a whole, is similar to KCK in respect to the racial diversity of the city. Each dot on the map signifies 50 people and the color signifies the race. There is a large cluster of light blue in the center of Denver, which represents the highest density of Black communities then slowly transitions into the Hispanic community, and finally trickles out to predominantly White communities.

In both KCK and Denver, the most populated races are Hispanic and White. By studying Denver, we were able to build a stronger understanding of what causes different races to cluster, specifically Hispanic and White individuals.

= Black = Asian = White = Hispanic Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Case Study: Vacancy in Detroit The City of Detroit was once a booming center of industry that fueled a population of nearly two million people in its heyday. The offshoring of jobs, racial tensions, and a decline in local manufacturing led to rapid depopulation within the city. As the city continued to depopulate, more and more vacancies emerged creating an urban prairie of broken homes, weedinfested lots, and growing poverty.

= Vacant Structures = Occupied Structure

The majority of vacant parcels lie in and around the center city inhabiting the older streetcar suburbs of the city. These areas—once torn about by neglect, poverty, and rising crime rates—have slowly become completely overgrown and abandoned as the lack of job opportunities has continued to push people out of the city and into neighboring Oakland County.

Although depopulation and an abundance of vacant parcels has presented Detroit in a negative light recently, individuals have emerged to turn these negative characteristics into positive ones. The emergence of projects like The Heidelberg Project and Artist Village have sought to transform these derelict and often overlooked areas in the city, and counter the narrative of poverty and crime that has far too long plagued Detroit.


Case Study: Rental Percentage in Chicago Since the Great Fire of 1871, the City of Chicago has sought to build itself into one of the greatest metropolises in the world. In light of the city’s ever increasing advancement, the emergence of a city characterized by rentals rather than homeowners has become an interesting juxtaposition between two different types of living situations.

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The majority of rental properties lie in the city’s prosperous North side and impoverished South and West sides. While there are many different types of people who rent, two general categories of renters in these properties are: 1) the affluent who are in temporary housing, and 2) those with diminished incomes— unable to provide a permanent residence for themselves and/or their families.

This lack of permanence can lead to diminished livability and the potential for a cycle of poverty.

= Renter Occupied = Owner Occupied Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Jumping into the deep end of the data pool.


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The water is warm Given our limited time frame, our studio needed to develop a strategy to expedite the data collection process as much as possible. To do this we partnered with three other KU faculty members who had already been engaged in the Kansas City, KS (KCK) community. We were able to develop some early inferences based on their research. We then turned to GIS to corroborate those inferences. This section is a comparative analysis of Kansas City as a whole and our research area within KCK.

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KCK Poverty KCK has made remarkable development progress in recent years, populating the relatively untouched land outside of the urban core to the west with various shopping opportunities, professional sports venues, residential living, and the always popular Kansas Speedway. The story of newfound wealth in western KCK differs from the story in the urban core, which was once the heart

= Below Poverty Line = Above Poverty Line

of a prosperous manufacturing city characterized by its blue collar nature and strong, distinct immigrant communities. Much of that blue collar and immigrant community spirit still exists in KCK, but it is plagued by lowered income levels as much of the city’s manufacturing base has been depleted over the years. Like many cities of a similar background,

KCK has had to deal with a diminished tax base, blighted buildings, and the ubiquitous vacant parcel that dots the landscape as a reminder of what once existed and provided needed tax-revenue.


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Focusing on Central Avenue below, where one dot represents a quarter of a person, we can see an urban core that is fairly diverse in its markup of persons below and above the poverty line. This historic area of the city, which has great proximity to the growing central business district of neighboring Kansas City, Missouri, is at a crossroads of development. After much work done by Hispanic immigrants, Central Avenue

was revitalized and led to the revival of a once moribund stretch of the city that slowly withered away when the immigrants that built the city moved to greener pastures in nearby suburban areas. Even after transforming Central Avenue with numerous businesses that cater to the local Hispanic population, the Avenue’s corridor is still characterized by much of the population living below the

poverty line. This is most evident east of Betheny Park as we see block after block of people living under the poverty line. On the other hand, nearby blocks are blanketed with people above the poverty line. This presents an interesting juxtaposition that we hope will be alleviated through our research and assist in creating a more equitable community.

= Below Poverty Line = Above Poverty Line Gould Evans Design Research Studio


KCK Education Education is a critically important indicator of the social health of a city. The level of education attainment describes in general both the level of success that an individual and/or community currently experiences, as well as the potential for future advancement and growth. It is one of the most important areas a city can invest in to improve its condition. For example, an educated workforce brings improved job opportunities to a

= Less than High School = High School or Higher

community, which in turn brings improved earning potentials for residents and businesses that employ these skilled employees. This leads to an improved tax base that will provide the city with funds to invest back into itself. In KCK, the completion of high school is the metric chosen to evaluate the level of educational attainment relative to other parts of the Kansas City Metropolitan

Area. As the metropolitan map below indicates, a large proportion of KCK’s population has less than a high school education. This may seem to be a detriment, but our research may increase awareness of educational disparities, and our recommendations to insert education-focused programs within vacant parcels may benefit these communities.


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The map below highlights the level of educational attainment of KCK’s Central Avenue corridor. One particularly startling observation indicated by the map is that a majority of residents around Central Avenue are lacking a high school education or higher.

to assist in furthering educational needs, higher levels of education may be realized.

Such a situation presents both an opportunity and a liability for the area. If vacant parcels were able to be repurposed

Note: Data is shown by census tract in both maps and orange dots were moved to the foreground to graphically highlight

On the other hand, if these parcels are unable to be repurposed, then these blighted parcels hamper the ability to foster a positive learning environment.

areas with opportunity for improvement. Each dot represents approximately 50 people on the Kansas City Metro map, [left]. Each dot represents half a person and on the Central Avenue Corridor map [right]. Lastly, school age entails who holds a high school diploma versus those who did not complete high school.

= Less than High School = High School or Higher Gould Evans Design Research Studio


KCK Healthcare Below is a map of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area from a state level view where each dot is equivalent to 50 people. From this high level view it is apparent that the majority of individuals in the Kansas City area are insured, but it is also clear there are areas of KCK predominantly with uninsured individuals. The majority of the uninsured residents reside towards the urban core of KCK and the number slowly decrease as you work your way out of

= Uninsured Residents = Insured Residents

the urban core in all directions. We have noticed this is a common trend among many metropolitan areas due to increasing movement to the suburbs and out of the central, typically older parts of the city. A similar trend is seen in the cluster on the far left of the map, but on a smaller scale. This cluster is the City of Topeka; the map indicates a prominent density of uninsured individuals near the Northeast

corner—the central, oldest part of the city. As Topeka has grown, many of the more affluent individuals have left this area for the suburbs on the Westside of town.


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The map pictured below shows the number of insured residents in our selected area of KCK, where each dot represents half a person. When we zoom closer in from the state level map it becomes important that the scale of the dot also gets magnified. In our selected area of KCK, there are more uninsured residents than there are insured.

There are also clusters of high density uninsured areas, some of which are apartment complexes that house a large number of individuals on a relatively small footprint, so the GIS mapping shows higher levels of unemployment. When looking at general trends of the selected area map it is clear that there are more uninsured individuals south of Central Avenue than north of it. The zoomed in GIS map of the selected area

could help individuals focus on areas of the community that may need more focused assistance when it comes to being insured in comparison to other areas in Wyandotte County. Additionally, we notice a large clustering of uninsured individuals just west of Strawberry Hill, which presents an interesting juxtaposition with Central Avenue Corridor.

= Uninsured Residents = Insured Residents Gould Evans Design Research Studio


KCK Racial Diversity The Kansas City Metropolitan Area has both high racial diversity as well as many instances of racial grouping within communities. These areas of high diversity are tremendous opportunities for communities to come together and embrace different races, cultures, and customs. An ideal that should be aspired to in the United States considering the tremendous diversity within our

= Black = Asian = White = Hispanic

country. Unfortunately there are also areas where this diversity can lead to tensions, which is a challenge that must be overcome at the community level. This study views diversity as a community asset. Diverse communities have the potential to be vibrant and exciting places that attract visitors and revenue from surrounding communities.

Both maps were generated in house using data from the 2010 US Census dataset via GIS software. Abundant high quality data was available to describe the racial makeup of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area as well as the Central Avenue Corridor within KCK. Data is broken down by census tract for the Kansas City Metro map.


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High resolution data was available at the city block level for the creation of the Central Avenue Corridor map that revealed some interesting features. From the metro Kansas City view, the Central Avenue Corridor appears to be one of the more diverse areas within the metro. While this is certainly more true here than in the rest of the city there are still clusters of various racial groups within the corridor that are only visible due to high resolution

data that has become available only with the most recent census surveys. Clusters of Black-, White-, or Asian-dominated blocks clearly standout at this detail level. One of the more interesting take aways from the data encompassing the neighborhoods around Central Avenue is the large percentage of Hispanics that inhabit the area. They have been a growing demographic in recent years and have changed the area immensely.

Note: Data is shown at the census tract level for the metro Kansas City map [left] where each dot represents approximately 50 people and at a city block level on the Central Avenue Corridor map [right] where each dot represents approximately half of a person with no preference given to any dot color.

= Black = Asian = White = Hispanic Gould Evans Design Research Studio


KCK Vacancy One issue for many formerly industrialized cities in America is the emergence of vacant structures due to the population decreasing as people move to locations with better job prospects.

today. KCK has not suffered nearly the same fate that Detroit has. The amount of vacant structures that exist in KCK pales in comparison to the nearly 2,000 vacant parcels in Detroit that are logged in the Land Bank database. However, the empty parcels are still an issue that can hinder a community’s development into a more vibrant and inviting place.

The City of Detroit faced such a predicament, which has led to the total number of vacant structures encompassing nearly 30 percent of the total number of structures that still exist !

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The map below highlights the distribution of vacant and occupied structures in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. KCK fairs quite well in comparison to its neighbor of Kansas City, MO, but even one vacant structures changes the dynamic of any neighborhood.

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The map below shows neighborhoods that surround Central Avenue in KCK. Vacant structures litter the urban core and provide very little tax-generation, which assists in reducing the potential for crime. One positive is that very few vacant structures actually litter Central Avenue itself, but many can be found in nearby neighborhoods. Central Avenue and

its nearby residential neighborhoods are in an interconnected relationship where an action taken in one place will most certainly have an effect on the other. Most cities share this characteristic: when vibrant commercial corridors fall, nearby residential areas surely follow and vice versa. If we are able to turn these vacant structures that surround Central Avenue

around, there is a good chance that we can assist in creating an even more vibrant Central Avenue corridor. The hope is that improvements to the corridor will propel historic, nearby neighborhoods into a transformative place.

= Vacant Structures = Occupied Structure Gould Evans Design Research Studio


KCK Rental Percentage KCK is a city characterized by a population that resides in rental properties or owned properties depending upon their stake in life.

Side and similarly numerous renters in the city’s impoverished West and South Sides. In the map of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area map below, KCK stands out as a city that has most of its renter population in the historic core. In western KCK, however, you see more owner occupied structures than renter occupied. Various conclusions can be drawn regarding this discrepancy.

In our case study of renters and owners in Chicago, we saw that rentals crossed the income levels of its inhabitants. In other words, the rich and the poor choose to rent. This is evident by the large number of renters existing in the affluent North

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29

We examined KCK on a more localized level, and the map below is focused on Central Avenue. There are more renteroccupied structures than there are owner-occupied structures. The large orange squares below show apartment complexes that are renter dominated. The high volume of renter-occupied structures in city’s urban core raises various questions. If an area is to have

the stability to grow and become more than just a place to reside, we will need to put greater emphasis on creating the necessary framework to aid in establishing more owner occupied structures.

and parcels into a mechanism to assist in the aforementioned points, this synergy can change notions on how to develop for the future.

This framework is intertwined with levels of income, education, employment opportunities, and the ability to change one’s trajectory in life. If we can transform vacant buildings

= Renter Occupied = Owner Occupied Gould Evans Design Research Studio


How can we empower communities to develop themselves?


31

Consensus After asking residents what they want, we found a consensus. It doesn’t exist. Even if money were taken out of the equation, ten surveys often yielded ten different results. So what were we to do with this information? The following section covers the first half of the community engagement portion of our research, and though the surveys yielded cryptic results at best, we soon found that the simple act of conversing with locals was much more informative than hard data.

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


La Placita La Placita is the Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA) and its initiative is designed to invigorate, revitalize, and rebrand the Central Avenue Corridor. Its primary goal is to highlight underutilized sites such as Bethany Park in the popular Kansas City, KS neighborhood. La Placita created the annual Central Avenue Parade to provide an opportunity for individuals in the community to mingle with their neighbors and embrace utilization of Bethany Park. The Central Avenue Parade continued to steadily grow in size since its creation in 2013. The parade consists of an impressive number of individuals from the community and local businesses. CABA uses opportunities like the parade to place a spotlight on the community and the parks that are available to local residents. During La Placita, our research studio used the event as an opportunity to interact with the community members and start developing a better understanding of the area and what few changes the community members have witnessed over the years.


Community Meetings

33

While conducting our research in KCK we met with a variety of different community leaders. These leaders ranged in expertise from farming, Latino health, Central Avenue Association representatives, the head of land banks in Wyandotte County, and the head of local farmers markets. While meeting with these representatives, we were able to get a better understanding of the issues and opportunities that exist in Wyandotte County. It was interesting that most community leaders are facing different issues typically revolving around a lack of funding, but they all remained optimistic about the possibilities that exist in KCK. A common trend that we heard from many leaders is that the community would like more effort spent on safety, walkability, youth programs, and not additional tax increases. Through our various community meetings, we were able to compare what the community leaders were telling us and what the individuals living within the community were saying. We soon found out that the majority of the community leaders had a good understanding of what the individuals within their community truly wanted.

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Survey

Walkability

Public Services

Environmental Qualities

Quality of Schools

Vibrant Downtown Area

Strong Community Organizations

Hometown Atmosphere

Safe Place to Live

In this case study, we used a simple survey to get an initial high-level understanding of how the community felt about different aspects of KCK. We used these surveys at the Central Avenue Parade as a way to interact with individuals and spark conversation. The most interesting information we received did not actually come from the survey itself, but from the follow-up questions we asked. The survey acted as a wonderful springboard that allowed us to learn more about the community and to get contact information from the citizens.


Transportation System

Parks and Recreational Facilities

Shopping Opportunities

Selection of Housing

Diverse Population

Adequate Medical Facilities

Clean and Attractive

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Stakeholders This diagram is a nonscientific representation of “reach” for different stakeholders in the community, but our perception of reach is based on community interaction. The spectrum of reach ranges from the neighborhood level where a project may only effect the individuals in close proximity to it, to state level, where a project may affect an entire state of people. The majority of the programs studied in our selected area had a reach that placed them in between city and county level. After looking at the reach of current community projects, we are able to have a better understanding of existing programs and how they can aid us in our studies.

Stakeholder

Neighborhood

Prescott Neighborhood Group Cathedral Neighborhood Association Bethany Community Center Bethel Community Center La Fe En JesuCristo Central Avenue Betterment Association Community Housing Wyandotte Co. Kansas City, Kansas Chamber of Commerce Board of Commissioners, Unified Government of Wyandotte Co. Parks and Recreation Dept. Unified Government of Wyandotte Co. Public Works, Unified Government of Wyandotte County Kansas City, Kansas Farmers’ Market Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Greater Kansas City

City

County

State


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Any successful community space must be co-developed by the residents, as it will be them who voluntarily manage it and make it successful.

We need to empower the people who are willing to do something the people who really care. —Anonymous

There’s a large disconnect between outsider’s perception of the community and an insider’s perception of the community—it’s an issue of branding. —Anonymous

—Anita M.

Cultures and climates differ all over the world, but people are the same. They’ll gather in public if you give them a good place to do it. —Jan Gehl

A lot of people aren’t involved in this community because they simply aren’t informed. —Jake H.

We need to focus on establishing strong, innovative partnerships with outside organizations. —Shaya P.

Blighted properties have a wide array of negative effects but also present a great opportunity for this community. —Brian M.

The first ingredient is hope. If people believe in this city we can do a lot. —Jerry J.

To seek ‘causes’ of poverty in this way is to enter an intellectual dead end because poverty has no causes. Only prosperity has causes. —Jane Jacobs

We just need a way to bring money into this place. —Tom F.

KCK needs to stop putting Band-aids on Band-aids and make a real investment in its neighborhoods. —Anonymous

The “Broken Teeth” are causing us problems. It says people don't care about this place, but I know for a fact that that’s not true. We need to hold people accountable for the way they maintain their properties. —Anonymous

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Stakeholder Profiles

John and Rita have lived in the area

Myo and her family moved to America

Maria has lived in KCK for 20

their entire lives. Now retired, they are well aware of the changes in the community and though they don’t see these changes as necessarily negative, they have noticed a shift in the overall connectedness of the area around them. They do not utilize Central Avenue as much as they used to because it has changed so much in the past 20 years. The products on sale don’t pertain to them and the ones that do are advertised in a different language. It’s just too much of a hassle, so they often keep to themselves and only interact with other residents that have stayed and those who they have known for a long time.

from Burma five years ago. They came to America seeking a better, safer life. And while they’ve found that in KCK, she finds her lack of education and language skills challenging when it comes to interacting with the world outside of her small Burmese community. This, combined with a genuine distrust of government left over from her previous life, has led her to be often distrustful of strangers and government officials. Despite this, she is still looking into starting a small business and would love the opportunity to improve her language skills. For now, she concedes most of her community interaction to those that speak English less well within the community.

years. She and her husband came from Central America so her husband could find work in the construction industry. Since her husband’s passing a few years ago she now lives with her daughter and granddaughter. She speaks very little English and is, for the most part, unaware of local community organizations, activities and programs. That aside, she loves the neighborhood and the opportunities it has afforded her. She currently runs a small crafts business out of her spare bedroom.


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Clare is passionate about education and she sees herself as a provider of opportunities to children who might not have had them in the past. She first came to the neighborhood two years ago to try and make a better place through her skills and she also liked the affordability of the housing. That said, she is troubled by the tension between different ethnic groups and works hard to break through those barriers. She is excited when she sees growth in the children she teaches as they overcome obstacles and learn together. She wishes there were more resources available to help her educate young people but she does the best she can with the tools she has.

Christina moved to KCK from the Westside in Kansas City, MO ten years ago and for the past five years, she has lived in the Prescott Neighborhood. She loves the friendliness and overall makeup of the neighborhood, but as a bilingual Latina woman she finds herself acting as a liaison between the strictly Spanish-speaking residents and the rest of the community. This relationship has proven particularly challenging when dealing with local police and other government officials. She sees herself as a representative of the Latino community and is very active in local meetings and government affairs.

James has lived in the Kansas City, KS area for over 50 years. He is the creator of a local sports club that thrives in the diverse community found around Central Avenue. He also manages a small business on Minnesota Ave. As a lifelong resident, James is deeply invested in his neighborhood. He is a prominent voice in the community around Northeast KCK and he has expressed optimism for future developments around Central Avenue and KCK as a whole.

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Fail fast, Fail often, and think outside the box.


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Conventional Thinking At this point in our research we were beginning to assemble some pretty big ideas. We had looked at other KU research; we had met with locals and community leaders on several occasions and we had a mountain of GIS data compiled. Design thinking is what the architects in the group were able to bring to the table. “Fail fast� thinking is a big component of this approach and wanted to generate and vet as many ideas as possible. The following section is a graphic representation of the results of this process.

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Liabilities and Opportunities Upon our first visit to some of the neighborhoods within our research boundaries in KCK, one of the specific things we noticed was a large percentage of vacant and abandoned structures situated among occupied homes and businesses. The diagram below is a simple theorization of the liabilities and

Zero Tax Revenue Added Generated Maintenance Costs for the City

opportunities that a vacant or blighted lot can pose for a neighborhood. Although most people only consider the liabilities, they often fail to see the potential opportunities associated with these lots, such as new job opportunities, potential for new business, and the ability to facilitate a sense of community.

Liabilities

This diagram provides us with a concise view of potential liabilities and opportunities a property may hold, and would become the first of many explorations into blighted properties and their impact on the community as we embarked on our research in KCK.

Opportunities New Job Opportunities

Decreased Property Values

Increases in Property Values

Increases in Perceived Value

Leads to Higher Crime Rates

Improved Community Engagement

Added Tax Revenue

Education

Could Provide Much Needed Services

Increased Blight

Potential for New Business

Decreases Residents Value of their Own Neighborhood Leads to Poor PR

Exercise

Healthcare

Groceries

Educational Opportunities

Helps Create a Sense of Community


Perceived Value Over Time Building on the previous diagram, we wanted to look at the way these liabilities played out over time. A big discovery was made after learning from a local government official that the city can not acquire a property unless it has been delinquent for a minimum of three years according to Kansas state law.

Occupied

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This means that a property, which may or may not have a structure on it, and may or may not be occupied, is left deteriorating for at least three years before any concrete action can be taken to develop the property for any use.

Delinquency

The diagram below provides us with a cursory explanation of those effects at various scales. Its interesting to note the delayed effect one property can have on an entire neighborhood, and this would prove to be a key discovery as we moved forward.

Vacant Lot w/

Development or

Minimal Maintenance

Natural Reclamation

= Impact on Property = Impact on Block = Impact on Neighborhood

3 to 4 Years

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Tracking Investment Pathways For our third diagrammatic exploration into vacant and blighted properties, we wanted to look at the owner’s point of view. Why let a property deteriorate so badly? Was it simply that they couldn’t afford it anymore? Or were there ulterior motives? After talking with more government officials we found that most owners can

be grouped into two categories: owners who walk away from the property and owners who are hanging on it and hoping for something bigger to come. This can be original owners who have left, or speculators that are hoping to buy lots and sell them to larger developers.

In both cases, there is an extreme lack of incentive to get owners to better maintain their properties. A few government officials mentioned harsher fines for code violations, but there’s not much the city can do to change this pattern of reoccurring blight.

Less Investment

More Investment

A large entity may buy the property and pay top dollar

Delinquency

Abandon

Let it Sit

Commercial

Reinvest

Residential

Donate

Public Use

{

KCK Landbank

Sell

Landbank attempts to resell the property and recoup any back taxes


Revenue Generation

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Ideas

Potential Impacts

This diagram was brought about by a local resident. He approached two of our team members during a community meeting at the Dotte Agency in KCK and very bluntly asked, “How do we bring money into the city? That’s what we really need.” So this diagram was a summation of some of our early ideas

and how they would bring money into the city. Not every idea is as clean and dried as it could have been at this point, but it was important for us to get these things written down early on and to explore those impacts before we moved on to the latter stages of our research. One intriguing idea we developed while compiling our

Gentrification

Increased Property values

Find outside investors

More residents on health insurance

Seek additional government funding

Generates tax revenue

Increased income for specialized employees

May require workforce education

research was to offer tax incentives for the utilization of key parcels within our area of research. The potential impact of such an idea consists of the utilization of vacant property, a higher sense of value among residents, and increased foottraffic along Central Avenue. All of these are superb goals to increase area vitality.

Increased foot-traffic along central Utilization of vacant property

New job creation

Bring in new businesses

Create low-cost work spaces for new businesses

Re-attract residents that have already left

Incentivize businesses to re-invest

Offer tax incentives for utilization of key parcels

Higher sense of value among residents

Appeal to new residents to invest in the community

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Tracking Investment and Contributors A common issue for many cash-strapped cities is funding, and Kansas City, KS is no different. After speaking with several residents and city employees, we came to the conclusion that the city needed to be better at pursuing private investors to help develop public amenities. We started to look at parks and we used four key

factors to track two different scenarios for developing a project. We looked at maintenance, initial cost, time spent (occupancy), and sense of ownership. We then looked at which entities are typically providing these services and at which rate. We compared the two scenarios and made some interesting discoveries.

First, we were able to determine that the addition of private partner(s) has a tendency to greatly reduce both initial costs and maintenance. Beyond this, the partners share in the sense of ownership with the community and also help to keep the space occupied.

Using Parks as an Example

= City = Community = 3rd Parties (Event Planners, etc.) = Private Partner(s) Current Arrangement

w/ Private/Public Partnership

Project

Project


Public and Private Support is Critical important roles of public and private support are in helping a project to grow. A related process that this diagram alludes to and is used quite often in development entails a public-private partnership. This worthwhile practice consists of a government service or private business venture that is funded

or operated through a partnership between a public and private entity. Specifically, a long-term contract is established between a private party and government entity in which a public asset or service is provided. The private party holds significant risk and management responsibility in the venture relationship.

Private Support

Project

Public Support

Building on the diagram from the previous spread, we wanted to reiterate this key point as simply as possible. We continued with the idea of how parks are developed and thought the tree was a perfect stand-in for growth and success of a public institution. Likewise, we wanted to show the equally

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The least common denominator of the urban ecosystem: the vacant lot


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The Common Thread From the very beginning of our research there was one common thread—the vacant lot. It first surfaced on our early visits to Kansas City, KS. It then came up as a determining factor in other cities, and then it became an increasing part of our discussions. The vacant lot, it seems, is the one thing common throughout all cities and has an incredible range of potential. They can drag entire cities into decay or they can be repurposed to make cities more resilient than ever before. This section is about our initial attempts to quantify and qualify vacant lots in Kansas City, KS. We began with the base data and the current management system, the Wyandotte County Land Bank. From there we explored the tremendous potential of all vacant lots and looked to boil that data down into presentable results.

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Land Bank Data The purpose of the Wyandotte County Land Bank is to return tax delinquent and distressed property to productive uses that benefit the community. Wyandotte County typically has around 2,000 properties listed on the county’s land bank program. The properties available can be purchased at a very low cost for commercial or personal use. In the selected area of study there are currently 175 properties available for sale at an average value of 19.6 cents per square foot. This is incredibly low when compared to the average property price in Kansas City, MO. One reason that some of this property is so inexpensive is because the land is not suitable for building on. Our goal is to find what ways we can use this incredibly inexpensive property within the community for improvement purposes. By using the land for improvement purposes, and returning it to productive uses. This would start generating taxes in the community and eliminate eyesores that are lowering the surrounding property values at the same time.


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LAND BANK AT A GLANCE Selected area available: • 175 properties • $270,980 value of properties • $1,548 average value per property • 1,377,326 square feet available • $0.196 average cost per square feet • Worth 36.8% less than held properties

Selected area on hold: • 388 properties on hold • $1,208,820 value of properties on hold • $3,115 average property value on hold • 2,271,238 square feet on hold • $0.53 average cost per square feet

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Vacant Lot Ideas The question of what to do with vacant lots is an issue that many metropolitan areas are facing. It is difficult to decide what the proper use of the land would be because there are so many different opportunities and constraints. When we decided to come up with different ideas for the vacant lots, we chose to do a group brainstorming activity and broke the possible ideas up into different categories that would affect the community. Next, we came up with different uses for each lot. We used orange notes to list the possible barriers of negative implications and green notes to list the positive implications. Once we had all the information visually displayed on the wall, we were able to have a better understanding of what the stronger categories were.


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Lot Idea Analysis Our sticky note exercise revealed roughly 60 uses for vacant lots. We also brought a second version of the chart to community meetings so local residents could add their ideas and in the end, we had an incredibly diverse set. But what were we to do with this list now that we had it? We first had it organized into uses, then looked at other ways to break it down. We looked at four key categories: Cost, Feasibility, Scale of Impact, and Architectural Opportunity. Larger versions of these graphs can be located on the following four spreads. It should be noted that every lot is different. They are different sizes and shapes, they occupy different contexts, and they have different issues like drainage or soil contamination. Therefore, the cost of a dog park on one lot may be widely different than the cost of putting it on another lot. The values on the following graphs were assembled by averaging the scores given by our four group members. In the future a much more robust system would be required.

Residential Use

Civic/Public Use

Campsite

Garage

Picnic Spot

Side Lot

Public Fountain Dog Park

Community Plaza

Gazebo Small Playground Area

Skate Park

Yard Addition

Police Sub-Station

Housing

BBQ Station

Commercial Use Flea Market Parking Lot

Collaboration Hub

Retail Space for Local Stores

For-Profit Collaboration Workshop

Mixed-Use Container Village Internet Cafe

Source for Tax Credits

Food Truck Lot

Grocery Chain

Cultural Use Public Market

Metal Smith Workshop

Public Art

Community Library

Artist Exhibition Space Mailbox Library

Performance Art Venue

Projection Space

Gathering Space for Concerts


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Healthcare Use Mini Clinic Community Health Center

Cost

Educational Use

Outdoor Workout Area

Language Center

Neighborhood Bicycle Pathway Station

Vocational Training

After School Art Program Computer Training

Community Learning Center

Feasibility

Utilities Use Mini Wind Farm

Recycling Sub Station

Routing for City Utilities

Snow Removal Site

Solar Array

Scale of Impact

Natural Systems Use

Sales for Community Farms Large Scale Urban Farming

Tree Farm Mini Orchard

Community Farming

Rain Garden

Nature Center

Meditation Garden Community Composting Center

Architectural Opportunity

Vineyard

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Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity

Cost Feasibility

Vacant Lot Ideas: Cost

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Snow Removal Site Camping Site Mailbox Library Bicycle Station Picnic Spot Rain Garden Side Yards BBQ Station

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Side Lot/Garage Skate Park Meditation Garden Dog Run Community Gardens Dog Park Public Art Space Parking Lot

17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Food Truck Lot Recycling Sub-station Public Fountain Community Plaza Community Composting Center 22. Educational “Red Box” Kiosk 23. Neighborhood Playground

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Nature Center Outdoor Workout Area Mini Orchard Tree Farm Gazebo/Park Venue for Outdoor Concerts Neighborhood Pathway Performance Art Space


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32. Single-Family Housing 33. Community Farmers Market Space 34. Public Market 35. Internet CafĂŠ 36. Metalsmith Spot 37. Center for Learning Class Material

38. After School Art Program 39. Language Center 40. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 41. Community Library 42. Vineyard 43. Police Sub-station 44. Placement of Future Utilities

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Daycare Sun Fresh Grocery Hub Flea Market Large Scale Urban farming Retail Space for Local Stores Mini Clinic For-profit Collaboration Workshop

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Vocational Training Center Makerspace Community Health Center Collaboration Hub Solar Array Multi-Family Housing Wind Farm Mixed-use Development

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Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity

Cost Feasibility

Vacant Lot Ideas: Feasibility

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Camping Site Side Yards Side Lot/Garage Parking Lot Mailbox Library Bicycle Station Meditation Garden Outdoor Workout Area

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Picnic Spot Snow Removal Site Community Gardens Dog Run Educational “Red Box” Kiosk Dog Park Public Art Space Tree Farm

17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Single-Family Housing Community Plaza Public Fountain BBQ Station Retail Space for Local Stores Neighborhood Pathway Gazebo/Park Community Com-

25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

posting Center Food Truck Lot Multi-Family Housing Sun Fresh Grocery Hub Nature Center Daycare Flea Market Recycling Sub-station


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32. Neighborhood Playground 33. After School Art Program 34. Community Farmers Market Space 35. Center for Learning Class Material 36. Performance Art Space 37. Mini Orchard

38. Public Market 39. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 40. Large Scale Urban farming 41. Mini Clinic 42. Language Center 43. Community Library 44. Makerspace

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Metalsmith Spot Vocational Training Center Venue for Outdoor Concerts Community Health Center Skate Park Rain Garden For-profit Collaboration Workshop

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Vineyard Collaboration Hub Internet CafĂŠ Police Sub-station Placement of Future Utilities Solar Array Mixed-use Development Wind Farm

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Cost Feasibility

Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity

Vacant Lot Ideas: Scale of Impact

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Community Health Center Mixed-use Development Multi-Family Housing Wind Farm Police Sub-station Public Market Mini Clinic Solar Array

9. 10. 11. 12.

Community Library Sun Fresh Grocery Hub After School Art Program Center for Learning Class Material 13. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 14. Retail Space for Local Stores

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Language Center Flea Market Venue for Outdoor Concerts Vocational Training Center Internet CafĂŠ Community Farmers Market Space 21. Performance Art Space

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Neighborhood Playground Collaboration Hub Makerspace Large Scale Urban farming Daycare For-profit Collaboration Workshop 28. Vineyard


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Community Plaza Nature Center Metalsmith Spot Community Composting Center 33. Food Truck Lot 34. Recycling Sub-station 35. Snow Removal Site 29. 30. 31. 32.

36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

Public Art Space Mini Orchard Neighborhood Pathway Gazebo/Park Camping Site Outdoor Workout Area Dog Park Bicycle Station

44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Educational “Red Box” Kiosk Community Gardens Skate Park Meditation Garden Mailbox Library Dog Run Single-Family Housing Public Fountain

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Parking Lot Tree Farm Rain Garden BBQ Station Picnic Spot Placement of Future Utilities Side Lot/Garage Side Yards

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Cost Feasibility

Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity

Vacant Lot Ideas: Architectural Opportunity

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Mixed-use Development For-profit Collaboration Workshop Retail Space for Local Stores Multi-Family Housing Single-Family Housing Solar Array Community Library

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Co-learning Space for Adults and Children Makerspace Vocational Training Center Performance Art Space Collaboration Hub Mini Clinic Community Health Center

15. After School Art Program 16. Language Center 17. Center for Learning Class Material 18. Daycare 19. Internet CafĂŠ 20. Venue for Outdoor Concerts 21. Sun Fresh Grocery Hub

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Public Market Gazebo/Park Police Sub-station Community Plaza Metalsmith Spot Community Farmers Market Space 28. Public Art Space


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29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

Public Fountain Side Lot/Garage Large Scale Urban farming Neighborhood Pathway Recycling Sub-station Flea Market Educational “Red Box” Kiosk Mailbox Library

37. Community Composting Center 38. Neighborhood Playground 39. Mini Orchard 40. Bicycle Station 41. Community Gardens 42. Tree Farm 43. Food Truck Lot

44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Skate Park BBQ Station Rain Garden Wind Farm Vineyard Camping Site Meditation Garden Side Yards

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Outdoor Workout Area Picnic Spot Dog Run Nature Center Dog Park Parking Lot Snow Removal Site Placement of Future Utilities

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What can we learn from the work of others? And how does this relate to Kansas City, KS?


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From grassroots to big developers, there’s a spectrum Some of the ideas we developed for the lots were borrowed from other projects and we quickly found that there’s a big divide between “grassroots”, community-driven development, and top-down, profit-driven development. The middle was missing. This section operates under the assumption that we already know what largescale, for-profit development looks like. Our goal is to provide insight on how the other end of the spectrum operates. The end of this section also covers our second round of community engagement, where we show our findings from meeting with the officials who have direct access to KCK’s vacant lot landscape.

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Bangalatown Hamtramck, Michigan Bangalatown is a growing and vibrant center of the Bangladesh community of Detroit. It’s an area characterized by corner shops and markets geared toward this developing community but it has a common problem that plagues most of Detroit proper—vacant houses. Power House Productions has emerged in this community to combat the issue of vacant houses and create a redevelopment strategy to revitalize and inspire the community. One example of a Power House Productions project is the Sound House. This building is an experimental sound studio and a sonic, visual experience that has merged the work of three local artists and a number of visiting artists to date.


The Heidelberg Project

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Detroit, Michigan The Heidelberg Project emerged over 20 years ago and used art to transform a crime-plagued neighborhood in the East Side of Detroit into a place that inspires and enriches the lives of those near and abroad. The Heidelberg Project was created by local artist Tyree Guyton, and it has come to life through the artistic placement of discarded objects that create two blocks of colorful change in a once forgotten part of town. The project seeks to assist a community in redeveloping and sustaining itself by embracing its diverse cultures and artistic attributes. There are the essential building blocks for a fulfilling and economically viable way of life. The project assists in art, education, community development, and acts as a tourist attraction.

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The Urban Farming Guys Kansas City, Missouri The Urban Farming Guys is a nonprofit that was established to create sustainable communities in overlooked. Areas located in the neighborhood of Lykins in Northeast Kansas City, MO. The non-profit works to redevelop underutilized parcels in the area and create a fertile place of growth and change through a self-reliant community. This community has local food, water security, and an abundance of local opportunity. An important aspect of their work entails the use of community gardens which have an impact on everything from reducing crime and community building to education and healthy food access. Overall, community gardens have the ability to take back a community.


Power in Dirt

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Baltimore, Maryland Power in Dirt is the creation of a number agencies of the City of Baltimore. It is designed to take blighted lots and put them in the hands of people who wish to transform them into something positive for their community. The program works by providing an individual a one-year lease to develop green or open space. If successful, they can renew for up to five years and after that, the lot can become a part of the Baltimore Green Space land trust. Power in Dirt has become quite successful, making it incredibly easy for communities to legally adopt the city’s vacant lots and receive technical assistance to redesign them for community use.

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Theaster Gates Chicago, Illinois Theaster Gates, a local artist living in the South Side of Chicago, has transformed a number of derelict buildings into centers of community engagement and transformation. Gates has an interesting approach to urban revitalization and brings it to life through Rebuild Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to rebuild the cultural foundations of under-invested neighborhoods. It also works to incite movements of community revitalization that are culture based, artist led, and neighborhood driven. An example of this urban revitalization is the Dorchester Project, which created the Listening and Archive Houses. The Listening House acts an exhibit space, and the Archive House is a micro library and community nexus.


Artist Village

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Detroit, Michigan The Artist Village is a creative hub for artists, students, business owners, and neighbors living and working in the heart of the Old Redford neighborhood in Northwest Detroit. Created from an abandoned commercial strip, this new center of the community hosts the historic Redford Theatre, which holds a small coffee shop, vintage clothing store, and an art education program. This revitalization in the community was brought about by efforts from a non-profit called Motor City Blight Buster. Blight Busters is an organization that seeks to stabilize and revitalize the communities of Detroit. They invested $250,000 in the creation of the Artist Village.

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A Cup on the Hill We had the opportunity to speak with community members and different leaders involved in community projects at A Cup on the Hill—a coffee shop located in Kansas City, KS. We had talked with the leader of the Wyandotte County Land Bank and prior to this conversation, we knew that Wyandotte County had a substantial amount of assets in the form of 2,000 land bank properties available for sale. However, we did not have a great understanding about how the entire processes worked. Our research soon took the direction of trying to understand the land bank process and how we could use these assets to help assist the community in the most impactful way. A Cup on the Hill was a turning point in our research studio because we all agreed that land bank properties provided a great opportunity for the community. Before this point, we were focused on what other cities were doing and trying to examine if those projects would work in the KCK area.


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What does smart, responsible development look like?


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Networks of Scale The vacant lot is a complicated creature. Sometimes they seem to exist on their own without rhyme or reason, sometimes they cluster together, sometimes they form strange patchworks, and sometimes they take over entire neighborhoods and cities. No two lots are alike, but they do have patterns. You just have to know where to look. This section covers our pursuit of those patterns. We used relatively basic mathematical principles to select the most visible and accessible lots. From there, we grouped each lot by proximity and size into one of four context categories. The result challenges the way we plan and occupy our cities and has the potential to increase the resiliency of areas like Kansas City, KS.

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Selection Criteria We generated an opportunity map by overlaying a large number of different metrics that were created using geographic information software. We used metrics to analyze a large number of datasets that describe the Central Avenue Corridor. We also used criteria such as proximities to public spaces like parks, major roads, biking corridors, and grocery stores, as well as overlays

showing various types of vacancy. The densest areas of these overlays show areas of high opportunity. We identified vacant lots from the Wyandotte County vacancy dataset and manually added the lots currently managed by the Wyandotte County Land Bank into our vacancy dataset prior to our analysis. Any vacant structures that

did not appear in the vacancy data were simply added as vacant lots to the dataset.


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Parks

Major Streets

Bike Paths

Grocery Stores

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GIS Grouping

LESS DENSE

ISLAND LOT Island lots are physically isolated from other vacant lots by a minimum distance. They may or may not contain a structure.

ANCHOR STRUCTURE Anchor structures are the buildings identified as the most obvious structures to serve as economic and/ or social landmarks to the surrounding community.


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MORE DENSE

LOCALIZED CLUSTER Localized clusters are groupings of lots or structures within physical close proximity of each other. These have an intensified effect on the surrounding community compared to island lots.

LARGE CLUSTER Large clusters are areas where several localized clusters exist in close physical proximity to each other. These areas tend to be the most problematic areas within the city’s neighborhoods.

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Island Lots To determine the location of island lots, we established a buffer of 250 feet as the minimum distance a vacant lot could be from another. Some lots may be far more isolated than this but all clusters of vacancy begin as island lots so it is important to identify these locations before they grow. We then ran an analysis using GIS software to remove all lots within 250 feet of another. This analysis provided us with approximately the ten percent of lots that were the most isolated within the Central Avenue corridor.


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Island Lot Sample To demonstrate the typical context of island lots and how they might be useful in an urban planning sense, we chose a lot at random. This particular lot, located on N 20th Street between Orvill Avenue and Grandview Boulevard, is a very common context for island lots and it is the only one on its block. There is no structure present, and it appears to be loosely maintained by the city or local residents. That said, it still presents a particular burden to the properties around it by pulling down property values. It also holds the potential to become an eyesore if maintenance declines. So what do we recommend the community does with a lot like this? Ideally it would become a source of tax revenue. It is zoned as Residential R1, but if we suspend that designation for a moment we can start to imagine an entirely new list of opportunities. We proposed adding another data set to help narrow down the results in a different manner.


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Island Lot Data Overlay This particular overlay shows percentages of residents below the poverty line and breaks them up by census tract. We can see here that poverty, though an issue, is perhaps not the biggest issue facing this neighborhood. So we can begin to look at all other kinds of data to help determine a smarter use for this particular island lot. In order to keep this book shorter, we chose to only look at a poverty overlay. This data is available for free at www.socialexplorer.com or you can get hard data via GIS from your city’s planning department. Despite endless data, we can still come up with some basic inferences based on what we’ve looked at thus far. Poverty isn’t a large problem here, but consider educational attainment, crime, or healthcare issues like obesity or diabetes. Whatever the major issue is, we can look at the overlay data and make smarter decisions about what this lot can be. We can see this on the following spread where we have highlighted potential lot ideas based on this simple overlay.


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Cost Feasibility Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Snow Removal Site Camping Site Mailbox Library Bicycle Station Picnic Spot Rain Garden Side Yards BBQ Station

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Side Lot/Garage Skate Park Meditation Garden Dog Run Community Gardens Dog Park Public Art Space Parking Lot

17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Food Truck Lot Recycling Sub-station Public Fountain Community Plaza Community Composting Center 22. Educational “Red Box” Kiosk 23. Neighborhood Playground

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Nature Center Outdoor Workout Area Mini Orchard Tree Farm Gazebo/Park Venue for Outdoor Concerts Neighborhood Pathway Performance Art Space


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32. Single-Family Housing 33. Community Farmers Market Space 34. Public Market 35. Internet CafĂŠ 36. Metalsmith Spot 37. Center for Learning Class Material

38. After School Art Program 39. Language Center 40. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 41. Community Library 42. Vineyard 43. Police Sub-station 44. Placement of Future Utilities

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Daycare Sun Fresh Grocery Hub Flea Market Large Scale Urban farming Retail Space for Local Stores Mini Clinic For-profit Collaboration Workshop

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Vocational Training Center Makerspace Community Health Center Collaboration Hub Solar Array Multi-Family Housing Wind Farm Mixed-use Development

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Anchor Structures Anchor structures are buildings with substantially more square footage than the average vacant structure. It is important to note that the dataset available only included the structure footprints. It did not identify if these were multi-story buildings, so it’s possible there are multi-story buildings with substantial floor space that were not identified. Using GIS software, we ran an analysis on the vacant structure dataset that selected all structures with footprints greater than 6,000 square feet and highlighted them on the map.


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Anchor Structure Sample To demonstrate the typical context of anchor structures, we have randomly selected this building to explain the concept behind them. This building is an anchor structure because of its large size. Renovating an abandoned anchor structure to address an identified community need can help bring up the surrounding area. Developing these large structures can eliminate a large eyesore in the community and will provoke additional foot traffic. When an anchor structure is revitalized, there is a greater chance the surrounding vacant lots will be used for something productive.


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Anchor Structure Data Overlay The pink box in the upper right corner of the image highlights where the anchor structure is with poverty data as the overlay. The highlighted area borders two different levels of poverty—the lighter orange represents an area with less poverty and the darker orange represents more poverty. We used poverty as the overlay to demonstrate how one could use GIS information to help select an anchor structure in the most impactful way. For example, turning an anchor structure into a recreation center would provide a safe place for children in the area. By reusing the anchor structures positively, poverty and other negative attributes of an area could drop significantly.


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Cost Feasibility Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Snow Removal Site Camping Site Mailbox Library Bicycle Station Picnic Spot Rain Garden Side Yards BBQ Station

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Side Lot/Garage Skate Park Meditation Garden Dog Run Community Gardens Dog Park Public Art Space Parking Lot

17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Food Truck Lot Recycling Sub-station Public Fountain Community Plaza Community Composting Center 22. Educational “Red Box” Kiosk 23. Neighborhood Playground

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Nature Center Outdoor Workout Area Mini Orchard Tree Farm Gazebo/Park Venue for Outdoor Concerts Neighborhood Pathway Performance Art Space


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32. Single-Family Housing 33. Community Farmers Market Space 34. Public Market 35. Internet CafĂŠ 36. Metalsmith Spot 37. Center for Learning Class Material

38. After School Art Program 39. Language Center 40. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 41. Community Library 42. Vineyard 43. Police Sub-station 44. Placement of Future Utilities

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Daycare Sun Fresh Grocery Hub Flea Market Large Scale Urban farming Retail Space for Local Stores Mini Clinic For-profit Collaboration Workshop

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Vocational Training Center Makerspace Community Health Center Collaboration Hub Solar Array Multi-Family Housing Wind Farm Mixed-use Development

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Localized Clusters We pulled localized clusters from the same datasets the island lots came from. We then removed the island lots and added a buffer of 250 feet to all the vacancy instances. Any instances where this buffer overlapped were then merged into a single entity. This result paired nicely with a number of clusters emerging from the dataset.


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Localized Cluster Sample To created an example of a hypothetical redevelopment of a localized cluster site, we selected a grouping of parcels located at 347 North Valley Street northwest of the ME Pearson Elementary School. This is an interesting site because it has multiple nearby parcels allow us to propose a redevelopment with various types of strategies to revive the local area. In our lot analysis, we identified a community garden, neighborhood playground, and even a grocery hub. The benefits of developing a localized cluster, in comparison to an island lot or anchor structure, is our ability to create a wholesale change in the area on a greater scale. This aids the local community in building a more transformative environment.


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Localized Cluster Data Overlay As mentioned in previous examples, we chose this overlay map representing poverty in Kansas City, KS as an illustration of how census tract data in a particular area can play a role in the selection of a parcel for revitalization. In this particular example, the localized cluster we selected is an area with a medium level of poverty, unlike some of the surrounding data zones. This provides us an additional method to ascertain what specific use the parcels can be repurposed with in order to assist in reducing the level of poverty. When it comes to alleviating the level of poverty in this area, a community garden might be helpful in reducing poverty. Growing food locally and selling it at a farmer’s market can provide an additional income source for residents.


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Cost Feasibility Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Snow Removal Site Camping Site Mailbox Library Bicycle Station Picnic Spot Rain Garden Side Yards BBQ Station

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Side Lot/Garage Skate Park Meditation Garden Dog Run Community Gardens Dog Park Public Art Space Parking Lot

17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Food Truck Lot Recycling Sub-station Public Fountain Community Plaza Community Composting Center 22. Educational “Red Box” Kiosk 23. Neighborhood Playground

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Nature Center Outdoor Workout Area Mini Orchard Tree Farm Gazebo/Park Venue for Outdoor Concerts Neighborhood Pathway Performance Art Space


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32. Single-Family Housing 33. Community Farmers Market Space 34. Public Market 35. Internet CafĂŠ 36. Metalsmith Spot 37. Center for Learning Class Material

38. After School Art Program 39. Language Center 40. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 41. Community Library 42. Vineyard 43. Police Sub-station 44. Placement of Future Utilities

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Daycare Sun Fresh Grocery Hub Flea Market Large Scale Urban farming Retail Space for Local Stores Mini Clinic For-profit Collaboration Workshop

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Vocational Training Center Makerspace Community Health Center Collaboration Hub Solar Array Multi-Family Housing Wind Farm Mixed-use Development

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Large Clusters We use the same 250 foot buffer to clearly identify a few group of local clusters of vacancy, both of lots and of structures. Any localized clusters that fell within 250 feet of one another were merged into each other to identify large clusters of vacancy within the Central Avenue Corridor. These clusters are where vacancy is most severe within the city.


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Large Cluster Sample To create an example of a large cluster of parcels, we chose a number of lots situated at 205 South Valley Street located several blocks east of the Sun Fresh grocery store on 18th Street. This is an interesting example of a group of local clusters of vacancy brought together to form a large cluster network. In our analysis of potential uses for this area, we felt the area could be well situated for a nature center, single-family housing, and even mixed-use development. The advantage of a developing a localized cluster, in comparison to an island lot and anchor structures, is having more space to work with.


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Large Cluster Data Overlay Similar to our prior examples, the data overlay map shows the level of poverty in Kansas City, KS according to census tract data, and it can potentially aid us in our selection of uses for the various parcels in this conglomeration. In this example, the location of our large cluster is situated in an area of the city that has a higher poverty rate than nearby areas. This map helps us to identify different uses for the various parcels in order to reduce the levels of poverty. Mixed-use development may be able to assist in reducing the poverty level in the selected area. Specifically, a mixed-use development would provide the possibility of new jobs in the area and give residents the ability to gain additional income.


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Cost Feasibility Scale of Impact Architectural Opportunity 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Snow Removal Site Camping Site Mailbox Library Bicycle Station Picnic Spot Rain Garden Side Yards BBQ Station

9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Side Lot/Garage Skate Park Meditation Garden Dog Run Community Gardens Dog Park Public Art Space Parking Lot

17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Food Truck Lot Recycling Sub-station Public Fountain Community Plaza Community Composting Center 22. Educational “Red Box” Kiosk 23. Neighborhood Playground

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Nature Center Outdoor Workout Area Mini Orchard Tree Farm Gazebo/Park Venue for Outdoor Concerts Neighborhood Pathway Performance Art Space


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32. Single-Family Housing 33. Community Farmers Market Space 34. Public Market 35. Internet CafĂŠ 36. Metalsmith Spot 37. Center for Learning Class Material

38. After School Art Program 39. Language Center 40. Co-learning Space for Adults and Children 41. Community Library 42. Vineyard 43. Police Sub-station 44. Placement of Future Utilities

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Daycare Sun Fresh Grocery Hub Flea Market Large Scale Urban farming Retail Space for Local Stores Mini Clinic For-profit Collaboration Workshop

52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

Vocational Training Center Makerspace Community Health Center Collaboration Hub Solar Array Multi-Family Housing Wind Farm Mixed-use Development

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Overlapping Network Layers From our mapping exercises, we have created a streamlined map to aid in the redevelopment and transformation of Kansas City, KS by utilizing its abundant network of vacant buildings and parcels. The largest network of clusters on this map indicate prime areas for a revitalization that will transform the areas situated around Central Avenue. In particular, we have an abundant supply of vacant buildings and parcels that form a large cluster of potential development north and south of Central Avenue.


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We have only just scratched the surface.


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A Handful of People From the very beginning, we acknowledged that four months was not enough time to cover this issue. Vacant lots are a complicated problem, as no two are alike. They are constantly evolving, and the volume of research is only limited to a handful of people. Fortunately, we have found that handful of people. This section covers their work and how it could be appropriated to help KCK and other cities around the world.

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Urban Ecosystems Research Urban ecology is relatively new to the scientific field and is primarily concerned with the study of ecosystems that intersect and overlap with urban areas. This research is centered around the presence of human beings, looking at their needs for food, water, shelter and social interaction. During our research, we came across Ecosystem Services, which is a journal that had a few interesting studies focused on the assessment and qualifications of vacant lots. One particularly interesting study called, “Urban Vacancy and Land Use Legacies: A Frontier for Urban Ecological Research, Design, and Planning�, proposed new selection criteria that could be used as a template for grading lots. This can lead to a more efficient way of identifying the most successful uses for the lot. This research provided us with another interesting lens to view vacant lots. We now consider natural uses like stormwater management and wildlife thoroughfares as well as social needs like job creation and educational attainment. This was extremely valuable.


MIT City Form Lab

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The City Form Lab at MIT is a multidisciplinary urban planning and architectural research studio that uses cutting edge modeling and analysis to investigate our urban infrastructure and its social, environmental, and economic impacts. They have many interesting papers, but the key one for us is called, “Location and Agglomeration: The Distribution of Retail and Food Businesses in Dense Urban Environments.� This paper focused on the location of various commercial entities in relation to other entities of the same nature. For example, grocery stores have very specific territories that rarely overlap, but restaurants and bars tend to cluster. They used a very in-depth survey to generate very complex mathematical networks of these varying clusters and single entities. The result was an overlay of varying networks that operate at different scales. We saw a lot of potential in this research and there are many ways we can apply it to our various lot locations and ideas. We can also use this to generate our own conceptual networks with existing entities throughout the city.

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MOLA “The Contested Nature of Vacant Land in Philadelphia and Approaches for Resolving Competing Objectives for Redevelopment” is an article that examines the use of GIS based multi-objective land allocation methodology (MOLA). The research in this article focuses on the issue of the redevelopment of vacant land and its highly contested status in most urban areas. Municipal governments advocate for the conversion of underutilized lots into tax-revenue developments, while residents primarily prefer additional green space or parks. The authors of the article attempt to provide a framework for managing these competing objectives through an analysis of vacant land redevelopment alternatives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They employed MOLA methodology at two-scales—citywide and neighborhood level—to balance three competing objectives: green space, commercial, and residential. The results identified the most suitable reuses of vacant land across Philadelphia.


596 Acres

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596 Acres is a Brooklyn-based group that creates tools to help local residents and community organizations find vacant lots by sharing municipal information about land use and development. This shared information has expanded into an online interface where users can find all the necessary information for a vacant lot of interest and connect with others. While the website—located at www.livinglotsNYC.com—is the most visible aspect of 596 Acres, organizers track funding resources, host symposiums on vacant land use, help other organizers facilitate construction of new facilities, and partner with numerous other organizations to host events and generate awareness about vacant lot issues. It should also be noted that the 596 Acres website is open-source and licensed under Creative Commons. Communities around the world have begun using this template. Here is a short list: Grounded in Philly, LA Open Acres, Living Lots NOLA, Parkdale Neighborhood Land Trust (Toronto), Lande (Montreal), 3000acres (Melbourne), and countless others.

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MIT SENSEable City Lab The MIT SENSEable City Laboratory was created in 2004 by Carlo Ratti, an Italian architect and teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The MIT SENSEable City Laboratory aims to investigate and forecast the role of digital technology in its ability to change the way people live and its potential implications on the urban scale. The lab does done a variety of different projects, from investigating the aggregate patterns of urban mobility in Rome, to the innovative Copenhagen Wheel, which maps the levels of pollution, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real time. It also captures the energy dissipated while cycling and braking in order to save it for when you need an extra boost during the day.


Loveland Technologies

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Loveland Technologies began in Detroit and has since expanded to San Fransisco with the goal of mapping every parcel in the world and making it understandable for all. Their “product� called Site Control aims to compete with Esri, a traditional GOS provider, by offering a more up to date and user-friendly software interface. They accomplish this by combining existing city data with user-generated data via a mobile application. This opens up new avenues of data for cities, non-profits, developers, and local residents to access. Their first major mapping exercises evolved around a team of surveyors that were mapping blighted structures in Detroit. Due to large data gaps in a constantly evolving vacant landscape, Site Control’s user-generated content proved ideal in mapping vacancy, ownership, real estate speculation, and at risk properties. With this information, the city now has a fluid idea of its land use challenges and can address issues more efficiently in the future.

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Urban Voids Philadelphia In 2005 the City Parks Association of Philadelphia and the Van Alen Institute initiated a three-phase design competition. The challenge was to “suggest compelling ideas for Philadelphia’s vacant land and to imagine long-term solutions that inspire change, and reshape urban and natural forms throughout the city.� Phase I drew 219 submissions from around the world. Phase II selected five finalists and awarded them funding to further pursue their proposals. Phase III selected a single winning project for eventual implementation. We saw this as a great way to generate a wide variety of ideas around the issue of vacant lots. There were many interesting proposals,and while some were more grounded than others, Philadelphia wound up with some high quality ideas for a low initial investment. We suggest visiting www.vanalen.org to see some of the finalists and, though many of them are not directly applicable to KCK, they are relative to broader solutions that may be available to other cities. The image on the right is from one of the Phase II finalists, Ecosistema Urbano, out of Madrid.


Instagram in Mobile, AL

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 16% of the 90,000 housing units in Mobile, Alabama are vacant. Sandy Stimpson, the mayor of Mobile, has sought to tackle the blight problem the city faces through the addition of new staff members and philanthropic funds. Since receiving a three-year $1.65 million dollar grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the city has been able to create an “innovation team� that will tackle longstanding urban problems through imaginative and data-driven means. To be successful in this endeavor, they needed an adequate baseline to work with in order to record any progress they may make in reducing blight in the community. In order to reach their intended goals, the innovation team started using Instagram, which is a photo-oriented social media app. Through the use of Instagram, code enforcement officers take photos of blighted properties and automatically document them with the general location of the photo, which makes it easier for the team to determine the biggest issues the city needs to tackle.

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Selected Abstracts The New Ecology of Vacancy: Rethinking Land Use in Shrinking Cities

The production of urban vacant land: Relational place-making in Boston, MA neighborhoods

Urban environments are in continual transition. Yet, as many cities continue to grow and develop in ways deemed typical or standard, these transitions can be difficult to acknowledge. Narratives of continued growth and permanence become accepted and expected while the understanding of urban dynamics becomes lost. In many parts of the world, the shrinking cities phenomenon has given rise to a new awareness of urban transition that provides a laboratory of new conditions at the intersection of urbanism and ecology. With property vacancy rates easily exceeding 50% in certain locations, cities in the American Rust Belt look more like successional woodlands than bustling metropolises, yet these cities still contain significant numbers of urban residents. A central question that arises from this phenomenon is: how can vacant land, through the provision of ecosystem services, become a resource as opposed to a liability? This paper looks to recent studies in urban ecology as a lens for understanding the land use potential of shrinking cities, while discussing unconventional solutions for sustainable development of urban land.

The persistence of vacant land in urban areas exhibits geographic unevenness. While central cities have experienced waves of reinvestment over the past decades, vacant lands often persist in adjacent low-income neighborhoods. Thus a networked local-scale perspective is integral for understanding metropolitan areas. Local scale analyses require an understanding of informal decisionmakers and institutions and the ways that they connect more broadly with other actors. Drawing on focus groups with civil society organizations (CSOs) and a neighborhood design/build case study, this paper characterizes “on the ground” perceptions of and responses to vacant lots in urban neighborhoods in order to provide insight into their analysis and management. The fieldwork extends insights from studies of community gardens to suggest that access to and potential ownership of vacant parcels, in addition to the political economic forces driving land-use change, are critical factors that drive vacant land governance at the neighborhood-scale. Public–civic partnerships in weak market areas have the potential to strengthen this access and ownership in a way that improves vacant lot management.

Maintain, demolish, re-purpose: Policy design for vacant land management using decision models Decline, measured in population growth rates, population levels, housing stock and economic activity, and associated increases in vacant land in urban areas, is a reality for cities and regions within the United States. However, planners increasingly see ‘decline’ as a development state to anticipate and a development strategy to consider. For example, a place may lose population while continuing to provide a high quality of life and social value. Vacant land is central to planning issues related to decline: some currently-occupied housing may likely become abandoned and demolished, yielding vacant lots, while some currently vacant lots may be inputs to alternative uses such as recreational space, urban farming or commercial uses. In this paper, we develop decision models that enable planners to generate a range of neighborhoodlevel development strategies that jointly optimize multiple objectives related to residential satisfaction, scale economies in development and equity. We apply these models to a case study of a small city. Model solutions may help planners understand how alternative model formulations are associated


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with spatial variation in active versus passive land uses, values of important output measures such as residential satisfaction, and the special role that vacant land plays in regional development policies that can be classified as smart growth or smart decline.

We suggest that by assessing vacant lot uses, ecological characteristics and the social characteristics of neighborhoods in which vacant lots are located, planners may be able to more effectively address urban land vacancy while supporting urban sustainability and resilience.

A social–ecological assessment of vacant lots in New York City

Mapping ecosystem services in New York City: Applying a social– ecological approach in urban vacant land

Land vacancy is a persistent phenomenon in urban landscapes in the United States, yet little is known about the ways vacant lots are used in practice and the functions they serve in local communities. Here, we offer insight into the composition, uses and neighborhood context of vacant lots in New York City. Using ArcGIS and Google Earth, we conducted a visual survey of 5% of vacant lots in each New York City borough, collecting land cover and actual use data. Results indicate that many vacant lots in New York City are used as community gardens, residential yards, parks, parking areas and sports fields. Neighborhood income and lot vegetation are significantly associated with most of the ways that vacant lots are used in practice. In particular, lots which are actually unused (33%) tend to be located in neighborhoods with relatively high population density and low median household income levels.

As urbanization expands city planners and policymakers need to consider how ecological resources can be strategically developed and managed sustainability to meet the needs of urban populations. The ecosystem services (ES) approach provides a useful framework for assessing the status quo, setting goals, identifying benchmarks and prioritizing approaches to improving ecological functioning for urban sustainability and resilience. However, new tools are required for comprehensively evaluating urban ES for ecosystem management and to understand how local and regional trends and plans may affect ES provisioning. We develop an ES assessment methodology that can be used to assess multiple ES of urban green space and integrate them with social conditions in urban neighborhoods. Our

approach considers social–ecological conditions and their spatial patterns across the urban landscape. Our analysis focuses on vacant land in New York City. Results suggest that a combined social–ecological approach to ES assessment yields new tools for monitoring and stacking ES. We find that clusters of vacant lots in areas with overlapping low ecological value (e.g. low concentration of green space) and high social need for ES (e.g. high population density) are primarily concentrated in three areas of the city – East Harlem, South Bronx and Central Brooklyn.

Urban vacancy and land use legacies: a frontier for urban ecological research, design, and planning Around the world, many urban districts and some entire cities are dominated by vacant and abandoned property. Former uses of these properties range from heavy industry to residential neighborhoods, and each bears many potential legacies of past uses, including: introduction of contaminants that may threaten the health of humans and other species, engineering of land and infrastructure that may undermine hydrological ecosystem services, and introduction of species including invasive. While the ecological

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functions that characterize vacant urban lands have been only partially investigated, the legacies associated with their past uses are known to affect ecosystem services. In addition, changed industries, weakened economies, arcane financial systems, population migration, and aging resident populations have left many people living in the midst of this vacancy, with clear implications for human health and safety. Since market demand is weak in highly vacant districts, social capital may be particularly important to protecting quality of life and ecosystem services. New design and planning approaches should be informed by urban ecological knowledge that is synthesized with social and cultural under-standing of residents’ perceptions and values. Interest in urban agriculture, green infrastructure, and open space planning for vacant urban lands is burgeoning. However, without adequate knowledge of highly vacant districts as socioecological systems, design and planning may have unintended consequences for human health, water quality, adaptation to climate change, and a panoply of other ecosystem services. Research questions and design and planning applications require a transdisciplinary approach to address highly vacant urban districts with legitimacy and relevance.

Rethinking urban transformation: Temporary uses for vacant land As some cities grapple with economic decline and depopulating neighborhoods, a number of academics and professionals have focused their attention on the causes, conditions and patterns of the resultant vacant land, whereas others lay out broad programmatic, institutional, fiscal and design responses to address vacancy on site or citywide scales. We find that, regardless of condition and context, most responses advocate complex, officially sanctioned, formal programs and policies that call for or depend on implementation over several multi-year phases. While laudable in scope, we question whether “permanent” solutions are appropriate given the widely varying causes, durations, contexts and patterns of vacancy and the inability of similarly scoped government-led programs to thus far achieve intended goals or improve local quality of life. We present examples that make the case for temporary, incremental, flexible and experimental responses to urban vacant land, then conclude by outlining the potential benefits and drawbacks of this temporary use model.

The Contested Nature of Vacant Land in Philadelphia and Approaches for Resolving Competing Objectives for Redevelopment The redevelopment of vacant land is a contested issue in most urban places. Municipal governments advocate for the conversion of underutilized lots into taxrevenue generating developments, while residents may prefer additional green space or parks. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for managing these competing objectives through an analysis of vacant land redevelopment alternatives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This study employs a GIS-based multi-objective land allocation (MOLA) methodology at two scales – citywide and neighborhood level – to balance three competing objectives: green space, commercial, and residential. The results of the multi-objective land allocation (MOLA) model identify the most suitable reuses of vacant land across Philadelphia. Further, this study provides a policyoriented framework and methodology for balancing competing objectives in vacant land planning that could be readily applied in different contexts.


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Towards Intercultural Engagement: Building Shared Visions of Neighborhood and Community in an Era of New Migration Concerns about the consequences of new migration for good community relations have brought calls for bridge-building between apparently disconnected groups through greater social contact, intercultural dialogue and co-operation at the local scale. Although several initiatives have sought to build stronger relations between new and settled groups in the UK, we know relatively little about the impact of these encounters on those involved or their effectiveness in promoting good relations. In this paper, we explore the potential to erode perceived differences between diverse groups through dialogue around shared neighborhood and community concerns. Drawing on interview and observational data in Bradford, our findings suggest that intercultural dialogue facilitates mutual learning and presents an opportunity to negotiate socially constructed group boundaries, unsettle racialized, gendered and class-based understandings of ‘self’ and ‘other’, and challenge emotions, myths and stereotypes that can underpin everyday animosities between new and settled residents. However, the capacity for

co-operation around neighborhood issues was found to differ within and between populations, reflecting complexities of identification, affiliation and belonging. Furthermore, bridge-building exercises between vulnerable new migrants and established groups with a stronger political voice and social rights may not be able to compensate for unfavorable dynamics of power between them

Location and Agglomeration: The Distribution of Retail and Food Businesses in Dense Urban Environments This article analyzes location patterns of retail and food establishments, whose presence constitutes an important aspect of livable and walkable neighborhoods. Using approximately fourteen thousand buildings on the street network of Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts, as units of analysis, this article tests five hypotheses about retail locations found in previous literature and estimates the impacts of different location characteristics for all retail and foodservice establishment as a group and for different store categories individually. The results describe how specific location attributes impact the probabilities of finding retailers, which can inform the planning of commercial activity clusters.

Does Urban Mobility Have a Daily Routine? Learning from the Aggregate Data of Mobile Networks Does the distribution of Rome’s population follow routine hourly, daily, or weekly patterns? And if it does, how do such patterns vary in different parts of the city? This paper reports on our investigation of the aggregate patterns of urban mobility in Rome, Italy for which we used novel data from a mobile phone operator. Unlike research that chartered urban mobility through individual travel surveys, our research determined the aggregate distribution of Rome’s population over time by using the volume of call activity in mobile network cells as the unit of spatial analysis. In this paper, we first illustrate and confirm that there is significant regularity in urban mobility at different hours, days, and weeks. We then show how mobility between network cells differs at various times, and we account for the differences by using demographic, economic, and (built) environment indicators.

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Cities, Gardening, and Urban Citizenship: Transforming Vacant Acres into Community Resources

policy or business models are unlikely to achieve. Finally, the article suggests that organizing gardening and sustainability initiatives as a project of urban citizenship could fundamentally remake urban society—in a way that is more equitable and responsive to local contexts—as it generates community capacity in the age of 21st century urbanization.

What does the urban gardener do, in the process of reclaiming and transforming previously vacant and abandoned land? What are the political, social, and ecological implications of creating community managed and owned spaces through urban agriculture? To address Facilitating Social-Ecological such questions, in the context of work Transformation of a Vacant Lot on that is being done across the world to an Urban Campus: the Houstontransform vacant land into community Congolese Connection resources, this article investigates the The importance of urban universities powerful potential of community managed in civic ecology education and the gardening projects from the perspective transformation of urban spaces and of urban citizenship. First, the term “urban mindsets has been little explored. With citizenship” is explored, with particular as many as 1,475 colleges, universities, emphasis on the distinction between and communities colleges in large cities passive and active forms of citizenship. around the United States, many of which The article then explores the kind of city possess significant land holdings, it is that gardening practices produce when conceivable that these institutions could they aspire toward their radical potential make a significant contribution to the as manifestations of urban citizenship, “greening” of cities. This paper posits that with cases from Boston, New York, and urban universities, especially those with Philadelphia that unearth empowering environmental science and studies or and effective fields of action. Insights sustainability-related programs, can be a from theory and practice reveal how locus for civic ecology education and can community managed gardening projects contribute, not only to the transformation can create opportunities for creative of urban landscapes but also to the political participation, the development of training of future environmental leaders, local leadership, and ultimately a resilient and ultimately to the transformation of social infrastructure that top down

urban young people. The paper describes an urban gardening project undertaken at University of St. Thomas in Houston as an example of this kind of social-ecological transformation and as a potential model for other urban universities.

Feeding Citizenship: strategies for accessing and transforming spaces Since 2003, Alternatives’ Feeding Citizenship program has been developing new ways to interact with urban manmade environments and the food cycle, towards a greener city and healthier communities. It does this by encouraging public participation in the creation of new green collective and edible spaces. The program has contributed to identifying opportunities in vacant land by expanding the scope of adequate growing space and it has facilitated transformation by actively bolstering public participation in the creation and investment of these spaces. This paper describes the context and issues surrounding community land access in Montreal. It tells the story of the development of Feeding Citizenship and recounts the program’s main challenges, as well as the successful strategies that emerged to overcome them.


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Growing Food and Community: Long Term Community Land Management in Boston

Inventorying Land Availability and Suitability for Community Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin

Sustainability has become a popular trend and policy tool for urban interventions in American cities, including the implementation of sustainable urban agriculture projects. In practice, effective urban agriculture projects require long term engagement in community management of land with a deep connection to the specific context and history of a neighborhood, as the case of The Food Project in Boston demonstrates. The strong presence of The Food Project in Boston’s Dudley Street neighborhood today grew out of a larger neighborhood history that involved a series of unlikely but powerful collaborations. Part of this context is the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative’s management of a long term local planning process based on the direct needs and aspirations of local residents—leading to the creation of many community managed resources, including sustainable urban agriculture. Overall, the work of The Food Project and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative is a strong example of how sustainable urban agriculture can grow food and community as part of a larger strategy for the long term community management of land.

Problem: Planners, politicians, organizations, and citizens in many cities recognize community gardens as a vital part of urban food production. To fulfill community or organizational goals, it is helpful to systematically identify and assess urban vacant land that could be used as potential garden sites. Purpose: The technical purpose of this project was to demonstrate how stakeholder input could be combined with expert opinions and applied to available data to create an inventory of undeveloped land potentially available for community gardens. In the specific context of Madison, WI, it provided information relevant to the city’s planning and land use goals. Methods: We developed a community garden site suitability index based on criteria including size, location, and site conditions. The characteristics of existing community gardens in Madison, WI and the preferences of current gardeners were used to specify suitable value ranges. The multiple step process for identifying criteria and determining acceptable suitability values based on stakeholder input is an advance over similar efforts in other cities that relied

primarily on expert judgments. After review and validation by local community garden managers, this framework was applied to publicly available data about undeveloped land, land tenure, land use, and biophysical conditions with a geographic information system. The result was a map and corresponding database of potential parcels or portions of parcels suitable for community gardens. Results and Conclusions: The GISbased approach provided a way to combine stakeholder input with expert judgment to create a synoptic inventory of potentially available land for community gardens. This inventory revealed 640 parcels and 1065 acres of potential suitable vacant land parcels for community gardens; this represents about 1.3% of the city land base. Takeaway for practice: Given the City of Madison’s goal of 4% of its land base dedicated to food production, this publicly accessible database is helping move community gardening from a tolerated and temporary activity to a planned long term use of vacant land.

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From Open Data to Open Space: Translating Public Information Into Collective Action Regular New Yorkers with access to accurate information, in context, provided together with support from a small, nimble and experienced staff, can and do organize collectively to create tangible results and real change in their neighborhoods. Together, they inspire grassroots change well beyond the boundaries of neighborhood vacant lots.

Permanently Grassroots with NeighborSpace The history of community gardening in North America has followed a boom and bust cycle; expanding in times of crisis only to retract when a feeling of security returns. This jarring cycle is facilitated by a view of community gardens as a temporary, pop-up, land-use. By framing gardens from the onset as ephemeral it is assumed that they will one day be replaced by a “higher and better use.” In order to break out of this cycle and have a permanent place in the urban geography it is imperative that models are developed that provide both longterm land security and can navigate the vicissitudes of community interest. In Chicago in the mid 1990s NeighborSpace was created in order to walk this difficult

line. As Chicago’s only non-profit land trust dedicated to community managed open spaces, NeighborSpace provides long-term protection for more than100 vegetable, flower and prairie gardens across the City. The organization shoulders the responsibilities of property ownership so that community groups can focus on the business of gardening and organizing. This article takes a close look at two gardens secured in perpetuity by NeighborSpace.

Urban Agriculture between Pioneer Use and Urban Land Grabbing: The Case of “Prinzessinnengarten” Berlin Prinzessinnengarten Berlin is an urban agriculture Project in Berlin. Thousands of volunteers turned a vacant lot into an urban garden that is a multifunctional, semi-public space offering a diversity of social, cultural, educational, and political functions. Faced with the threat of privatization of the land, the founders initiated a successful campaign not only to save this particular garden but also to emphasize the importance of urban open spaces for social and ecological engagement

Self Help Nuisance Abatement in Baltimore City In post-industrial shrinking cities like Baltimore City in Maryland, privatelyowned abandoned and vacant land is plentiful. Communities are seeking legal tools to gain access to this abandoned land in order to use it for community purposes. Community Law Center has developed such a tool in self help nuisance abatement, which creates a process for community members harmed by nuisance properties to turn them into community assets. However, the tool requires that neighbors take specific, often nuanced, steps and is therefore difficult to use correctly without legal guidance. A Baltimore community garden case study highlights common missteps, and the paper provides suggestions for community groups from other states who seek to borrow this tool.

Supporting Our Land Stewards: Building a Constituency to Change Policy and Preserve Philadelphia’s Gardens No one knows exactly how many community gardens exist throughout Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods, but there are hundreds. Yet, the majority of gardens, including some of the oldest and most established, are land insecure


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and at risk of displacement. The Public Interest Law Center Garden Justice Legal Initiative (GJLI) works to ensure that residents have the resources and tools they need to create and preserve farms and gardens. Over the past four years, GJLI has used law and organizing in collaboration with a multitude of partners to build a political voice for Philadelphia’s gardeners and farmers. Together, we are changing policy, creating new opportunities, and preserving deeply rooted community spaces, while bolstering leadership and incubating Soil Generation, our gardener and farmer coalition. Despite our successes, we are not yet where we need to be. We continue efforts to give life to the concept that healthy and sustainable communities are built through a range of beneficial land uses, that residents should have tools to legally access land as effectively as any corporate or nonprofit purchaser, and that there is value to something called the commons.

The Land Trust Solution: How Baltimore Green Space Uses Land Ownership to Help Neighborhoods Baltimore Green Space is a land trust that protects community-managed open spaces, such as community gardens, through fee simple land

ownership. The case of the Upper Fells Point Community Garden illustrates how protection by Baltimore Green Space makes it easier for gardeners to improve their sites and have a say in decisions about the land they care for.

Transformation of Urban Vacant Lots for the Common Good: an Introduction to the Special Issue Vacant land is a common condition in urban areas across the globe. Individuals, organizations, government agencies and scholars across the world are advocating, transforming, and governing urban vacant land in many different ways. This special issue builds on the Vacant Acres Symposium that was hosted by 596 Acres and The Tishman Environment and Design Center in New York, NY in April 2014, to understand the multiple ways in which these activities are taking place and share the lessons they offer by tapping into the knowledge and experiences of practitioners and scholarship focused on the work of transformation.

participation along the Opportunity Corridor project in Cleveland, Ohio. The Corridor is a $331 million roadway project that will span 3.3 miles through some of Cleveland’s most blighted neighborhoods. Issues of distributional justice including under-performing public education, poor public health indicators, high rates of vacancy, and aging infrastructure contribute to neighborhood blight throughout the area. Stormwater management, access to multi-modal transportation, brownfield mitigation, and economic development are also prevalent issues throughout the project area. Advocacy work by the Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) seeks to integrate planning efforts between multiple jurisdictions, civic actors, and community desires surrounding the project. This paper describes the community planning process in Cleveland surrounding the Corridor project, emphasizing the CUDC’s role in advocacy for an integrated planning approach to meet community needs.

Coupling Benefits: Strategies for Vacant Land Reuse along Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor This paper discusses large scale planning efforts pertaining to vacant land reuse, economic development, and public

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


About Us The Gould Evans Design Research Studio is a multidisciplinary think tank, comprised of architects, designers, engineers, anthropologists, sociologists and accountants, and many other collaborators close to our topic of research. Our aim is to leverage dissimilar viewpoints in the interest of discovery and innovation in the fields of design and architecture. Kelly Dreyer is a senior design leader for Gould Evans and a project leader for the Gould Evans Research Studio. One of his many interests lies in the application of research-based methodology in the design and execution of our built environment, to inform powerful and provocative outcomes.

Jeff Swiontkowski came to KU from Minneapolis. He holds a BA in Journalism and Architecture from the University of Minnesota. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Architecture at KU and hopes to apply all three arenas of study upon graduation as a practicing architect and freelance writer.


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Drew Truskey is a Master of Architecture Candidate at the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Planning, Public Policy and Management from the University of Oregon. Throughout his architecture education, he has sought to align urban planning practices with the creation of sustainable, equitable designs.

Parker Conlin grew up outside of Topeka Kansas before attending the University of Kansas to study business. While at the University of Kansas, Parker has been involved in multiple volunteer organization and was elected to the executive board of House That Greeks Built. During the spring semester of Parker’s senior year, he worked as a full-time Federal Tax Intern for KPMG in the Kansas City office. Parker will graduate with his Masters of Accounting in May of 2016, and sit for the CPA exam following graduation. Upon completion of the CPA exam, he will then start full-time as an Audit Associate for KPMG in the New York City office.

Patrick Henke is a Masters of Architecture candidate at the University of Kansas School of Architecture. He has interned twice at Black & Veatch, an engineering and architecture firm based in Kansas City, and will a be full-time professional there upon graduation. He was a key member of the MoCOLAB project completed by Studio 409, which has received global attention for the teams’ work in converting an airstream trailer into a mobile university resource. He brings software expertise, including specialized Geographic Information System (GIS), graphic, and mapping skills to the team.

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Works Cited: Alba, Richard, Glenn Deane, Nancy Denton, Ilir Disha, Brian Mckenzie, and Jeffrey Napierala. “The Role of Immigrant Enclaves for Latino Residential Inequalities.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 40.1 (2013): 1-20. Web. Amin, Ash. “Ethnicity and the Multicultural City: Living with Diversity.” Environ. Plann. A Environment and Planning A 34.6 (2002): 959-80. Web. Berfield, Susan. “Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Las Vegas Startup Paradise.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 20 Dec. 2014. Web. 03 Aug. 2015. Bradley, Bill. “The Blight-Fighting Solution for Saving 40,000 Detroiters From Eviction.” Next City. N.p., 9 Nov. 2015. Web. Burkholder, Sean. “The New Ecology of Vacancy: Rethinking Land Use in Shrinking Cities.” Sustainability 4.12 (2012): 1154-172. Web. City of Minneapolis. “Minneapolis High School Graduation Rates” 2007-2011. Web. Cahn, Amy Laura. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Supporting Our Land Stewards: Building a Constituency to Change Policy and Preserve Philadelphia’s Gardens” by Amy Laura Cahn Esq. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Cahn, Amy Laura. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Supporting Our Land Stewards: Building a Constituency to Change Policy and Preserve Philadelphia’s Gardens” by Amy Laura Cahn Esq. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Clausen, Marco. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Prinzessinnengarten Berlin between Pioneer Use and Land Grabbing” by Marco Clausen. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. DelSesto, Matthew. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Cities, Gardening, and Urban Citizenship” by Matthew DelSesto. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. DelSesto, Matthew. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Growing Food and Community” by Matthew DelSesto. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Dib, Kamal, Ian Donaldson, and Brittany Turcotte. “Integration and Identity in Canada: The Importance of Multicultural Common Spaces.” Canadian Ethnic Studies 40.1 (2009): 161-87. Web. Eanes, Francis, and Stephen J. Ventura. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Lots to Plots: Building an Urban Land Inventory” by Francis Eanes and Stephen J. Ventura. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Enchautegui, Maria E. “Latino Neighborhoods And Latino Neighborhood Poverty.” Journal of Urban Affairs J Urban Affairs 19.4 (1997): 445-67. Web. Foo, Katherine, Deborah Martin, Clara Wool, and Colin Polsky. “The Production of Urban Vacant Land: Relational Placemaking in Boston, MA Neighborhoods.” Cities 35 (2013): 156-63. Web. GaDOE Communications Office. Georgia Department of Education. Georgia’s High School Graduation Rate Increases Again. Www.gadoe.org. Matt Cardoza, 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. Helphand, Ben R. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Permanently Grassroots” by Ben R. Helphand. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Hertting, Nils. “Neighborhood Network Governance, Ethnic Organization, and the Prospects for Political Integration.” Journal of Housing and the Built Environment J Hous and the Built Environ 24.2 (2009): 127-45. Web. Janvier, Gaelle, and Justin Doucet. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Feeding Citizenship: Strategies for Accessing and Transforming Spaces” by Gaëlle Janvier and Justin Doucet. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Johnson, Michael P., Justin Hollander, and Alma Hallulli. “Maintain, Demolish, Re-purpose: Policy Design for Vacant Land Management Using Decision Models.” Cities 40 (2014): 151-62. Web. Kremer, Peleg, Zoé A. Hamstead, and Timon Mcphearson. “A Social–ecological Assessment of Vacant Lots in New York City.” Landscape and Urban Planning 120 (2013): 218-33. Web. Kremer, Peleg, and Zoe Hamstead. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Transformation of Urban Vacant Lots for the Common Good: An Introducti” by Peleg Kremer and Zoé Hamstead. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Kruth, Jeffrey. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Vacant Land Reuse along Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor” by Jeffrey Kruth. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Mcphearson, Timon, Peleg Kremer, and Zoé A. Hamstead. “Mapping Ecosystem Services in New York City: Applying a Social–ecological Approach in Urban Vacant Land.” Ecosystem Services 5 (2013): 11-26. Web. Nassauer, Joan Iverson, and Julia Raskin. “Urban Vacancy and Land Use Legacies: A Frontier for Urban Ecological


135 Research, Design, and Planning.” Landscape and Urban Planning 125 (2014): 245-53. Web. Németh, Jeremy, and Joern Langhorst. “Rethinking Urban Transformation: Temporary Uses for Vacant Land.” Cities 40 (2014): 143-50. Web. Pearsall, Hamil. “The Contested Nature of Vacant Land in Philadelphia and Approaches for Resolving Competing Objectives for Redevelopment.” The Contested Nature of Vacant Land in Philadelphia and Approaches for Resolving Competing Objectives for Redevelopment. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. Phillips, Deborah, Bal Athwal, David Robinson, and Malcolm Harrison. “Towards Intercultural Engagement: Building Shared Visions of Neighbourhood and Community in an Era of New Migration.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 40.1 (2013): 42-59. Web. Savino, Sister Damien Marie. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Facilitating Social-Ecological Transformation of a Vacant Lot on an Urban Campus” by Sister Damien Marie Savino. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Segal Esq., Paula Z. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Open Data to Open Space” by Paula Z. Segal Esq. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015. Sevtsuk, A. “Location and Agglomeration: The Distribution of Retail and Food Businesses in Dense Urban Environments.” Journal of Planning Education and Research 34.4 (2014): 374-93. Web. Sevtsuk, Andres, and Carlo Ratti. “Does Urban Mobility Have a Daily Routine? Learning from the Aggregate Data of Mobile Networks.” Journal of Urban Technology 17.1 (2010): 41-60. Web. United States. “American Community Survey 2010, 2013, 2014.” U.S. Census Bureau. N.p., Web. Nov. 2015. United States. U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Department of Commerce. Poverty: 2012 and 2013. By Alemayehu Bishaw and Kayla Fontenot. 01st ed. Vol. 13. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. American Community Survey Briefs. United States. U.S. Census 2000, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014.” U.S. Census Bureau. N.p., 20 Jan. 2009. Web. Nov. 2015. Wagner, Jacob A. “The Politics of Urban Design: The Center City Urban Renewal Project in Kansas City, Kansas.” J Plann Hist Journal of Planning History 2.4 (2003): 331-55. Web. Wainer, Andrew. “The New Latino South and the Challenge to American Public Education.” Int Migration International Migration 44.5 (2006): 129-65. Web. Wineman, J. D., R. W. Marans, A. J. Schulz, D. L. Van Der Westhuizen, G. B. Mentz, and P. Max. “Designing Healthy Neighborhoods: Contributions of the Built Environment to Physical Activity in Detroit.” Journal of Planning Education and Research 34.2 (2014): 180-89. Web. Witt, Becky Lundberg. “Cities and the Environment (CATE).” “Self Help Nuisance Abatement in Baltimore City” by Becky Lundberg Witt. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

Gould Evans Design Research Studio


Additional Thanks to:

Our Gould Evans Research Studio partners: Mahesh Daas – Dean, KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning Paola Sanguinetti – Chair, KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning Neeli Bendapudi – Dean, KU School of Business

We also thank our many collaborators and lecturers that have in some way contributed to the efforts of the Fall 2015 Gould Evans Research Studio: Shannon Criss – Associate Professor, KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning Richard Branham – Professor, KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning Michael Eckersley – Human Centered Design, KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning Kent Spreckelmeyer – Professor, KU School of Architecture, Design & Planning

KCK community collaborators: Marty Thoennes – Central Avenue Betterment Association (CABA) Edgar Galicia – Central Avenue business revitalization efforts / CABA Steve Curtis – Director of Community Building and Engagement, Community Housing of Wyandotte County (CHWC) Donny Smith – Executive Director, Community Housing of Wyandotte County (CHWC) Chris Slaughter – Manager, Wyandotte County Land Bank Brian McKiernan – Commissioner, District 2, Unified Government – Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kansas Cup on the Hill – Best cup of coffee in KCK

Contributors to the Fall 2015 Gould Evans Research Fellowship: Bob and Karen Gould Gould Evans


researchstudio@gouldevans.com

Vacant Cities  

A publication of the Fall 2015 Gould Evans Design Research Fellowship, "Vacant Cities" looks at vacancy through a variety of lenses to help...

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