Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2013 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Refurbishing the Rust Belt: Vacant Land Reuse in Cleveland, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland
Prusa, Jillian
Co-Authors: Jillian Prusa

Population loss in the old industrial areas (colloquially known as the "Rust Belt") of the United States has caused a variety of problems. Abandoned and vacant land is a serious problem that has changed from a symptom of population loss to a cause of loss. It has contributed to other problems including increased crime, fire and health hazards, reduced property taxes and a decline in city income, and increased upkeep costs. Both Cleveland, Ohio, and Baltimore, Maryland have experienced drastic population losses (Figure 1) since 1950, which has led to Cleveland’s estimated 15000 abandoned buildings plus an additional 3300 acres of vacant land, and Baltimore’s estimated 30000 abandoned buildings and lots (Figures 2 and 3). Remedying the vacant lot problem is important to both cities as they re-engineer their images and economies, and while the causes of vacant land have been thoroughly studied, the results of and processes shaping reuse efforts have not. This study, currently in progress, looks at reuse efforts, the struggles to introduce new ideas, and how various stakeholders shape their implementation.