Boon or blight? Ann Bowman and Michael Pagano define "vacant land" broadly, to include everything from brownfields (environmentally contaminated land) through trashed lots and abandoned buildings to greenspace (parks, community gardens, etc.). "Terra Incognita" takes a fresh look at what they believe can be the ultimate urban resource. Beyond the common studies of the influence of market forces, it explores how these areas are affected by the decisions of local governments, and then shows how vacant land can be a valuable strategic asset for localities. "Terra Incognita" derives from what - until now - has been the lack of substantial information about the amount and the diversity of urban vacant land. This book is based on an unprecedented survey sent to all U.S. towns with a population greater than 50,000, and contains data previously unavailable. Three cities were studied in greater depth for detailed case studies: the greater Phoenix and Seattle areas and Philadelphia-Camden. A number of other cities are cited frequently, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma City, among many others.
Identifying the fiscal, social, and development imperatives that drive the decisions local officials make about using vacant land, Bowman and Pagano pay particular attention to the varying dynamics of sales, property, and income taxes, and conclude with a model for making strategic decisions about land use based on a city's priorities.
Ann O'M. Bowman is professor and Hazel Davis and Robert Kennedy Endowed Chair in Government and Public Service, the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University and coauthor of State and Local Government: The Essentials. Michael A. Pagano is director of the graduate program in public administration, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and coauthor with Ann Bowman of Cityscapes and Capital: The Politics of Urban Development.
1. The Different Contexts of Vacant Urban LandVacant Land: Negative and PositiveDefining Vacant LandDescribing Vacant Land in U.S. CitiesContext Matters: Vacant Land in Three Metropolitan AreasConclusionNotes2. Cities and Vacant Land: Data and a ModelThe Amount of Vacant Land in U.S. CitiesTerra Incognita: Understanding City ActionsThe Three Imperatives and Vacant LandConclusionNotes 3. City Policymaking: Exploring the Land-Tax DynamicConstraints and Opportunities of General Taxing AuthorityThe Strategic Behavior of Property Tax CitiesThe Strategic Behavior of Sales Tax CitiesThe Strategic Behavior of Income Tax CitiesReflections on the Land-Tax DynamicNotes 4. The Social Value of Vacant Land Mental MapsInfilling as a Social StrategyVacant Land as Open SpaceConclusionNotes 5. The Development Potential of Vacant LandEconomic Development in Metropolitan AreasCapturing LandRecapturing and Recycling Vacant LandConstraining Land UseConclusionNotes6. Strategic Uses of Vacant LandA Spatial Mode of Vacant LandPutting Vacant Land to UseApproaches to Reusing Vacant LandStrategic Thinking and Vacant LandNotes Appendix A: Methodology Appendix B: Demographic, Economic, and Political Data for the Three Site-Visit Metropolitan Areas Appendix C: Data on Vacant Land and Abandoned Structures from the Survey and Data on Population and Area from the Census Bibliography Index