Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2014 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

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

Abstract: Vacancy contributes to a downward spiral of blight that many cities in the old American industrial belt struggle to escape. While the causes of vacancy and the effects – economic, environmental, and social – of vacant properties are well covered in the literature, successful reuse strategies and related supportive networks are not. This research investigates and compares the land¬ reuse process in Baltimore, Maryland, and Cleveland, Ohio, two cities with large amounts of vacant property. Stakeholders in both cities utilized a variety of land interventions in reuse projects, with the most common being the establishment of greenspaces, though the obstacles facing successful reuse varied between and within the cities. Governance networks and interorganizational relationships play an important role in reuse, and each city has opportunities to enhance and build upon these to aid future work.