A current inventory of vacant urban land in America Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Abstract: Vacant land is a significant issue in virtually every country across the globe. This study presents a current inventory of vacant land and structural abandonment in the urban United States. Using survey data, it analyses vacant land trends by region and city type. Nationally, an average 16.7% of large US cities land area is considered vacant, with approximately 4% of city addresses unoccupied. The ratio of vacant land to city size has increased by 1.3 percentage points since 1998 but decreased by 3 percentage points since 1963. Regional variations exist in both the amount and kind of vacant land, suggesting that any ameliorative actions should be designed to fit specific conditions. Cities also reported that most vacant parcels are small, odd shaped, and disconnected, making them difficult to regenerate. Disinvestment, suburbanization and annexation are the primary causes of increases in vacant land supply while growing local economies, population in-migration, and city policies tend to help reduce the amount of vacant land.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 7.33

author list (cited authors)

  • Newman, G. D., Bowman, A. O., Lee, R. J., & Kim, B.

citation count

  • 76

complete list of authors

  • Newman, Galen D||Bowman, Ann O'M||Lee, Ryun Jung||Kim, Boah

publication date

  • April 2016