Repurposing Vacant Land through Landscape Connectivity. Academic Article uri icon


  • Storm surge protection systems have proven effective in protecting populations in developed areas and can allow for development in otherwise potentially flood-prone areas. Resultant intensification of land conversion can result in large scale habitat fragmentation. Simultaneously, urbanized areas worldwide are increasingly accumulating large amounts of vacant land, creating an unprecedented opportunity to improve green space networks and natural systems. This article describes creation of a regional growth framework that balances the need to repurpose vacant lots with the provision of ecosystem services. The analysis seeks to maximize the structural connectivity of the landscape by using high ecological potential of vacant lands as a device for linking existing habitat patches, wildlife conservation areas, wetlands, riparian corridors, and small-scale green spaces. The research uses raster-based suitability models generated in ArcGIS to determine development potential and ecological values of vacant land parcels. Vacant lands having low development potential and high ecological value are linked spatially to create ecological corridors among patch areas using a least cost path connectivity model generated with Linkage Mapper software. Results indicate that vacant land can connect existing ecological patch and core areas with relatively minimal negative impact on development potential while simultaneously enhancing provision of ecological services. The approach provides a model for an ecological based solution to repurposing vacant urban land.

published proceedings

  • Landsc J

author list (cited authors)

  • Newman, G. D., Smith, A. L., & Brody, S. D.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Newman, Galen D||Smith, Alison L||Brody, Samuel D

publication date

  • January 2017