Launched in October 2011, the Vacant Property Research Network is a collaborative network of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners engaged in the design and testing of new models for reclaiming vacant and abandoned properties and creative planning and policy strategies for regenerating distressed cities.


Recently released, "The City After Abandonment" (Margaret Dewar and June Manning Thomas, Editors, University of Pennsylvania Press) is a collection of essays from top urban planning experts shedding light on three questions essential to understanding cities plagued with abandonment. What have such cities become? What makes a difference in what cities become after abandonment—what policies, politics, social relationships, institutions lead to different outcomes? What should/can such cities become after abandonment?
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The just-released case study, “Philadelphia’s Vacant Property Journey,“ is one of three conducted by Virginia Tech’s Vacant Property Research Network (VPRN), with support from the Ford Foundation, to document resilient approaches to reclaim vacant properties in three cities: Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Baltimore.
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Networking Event: Urban Affairs Association

| March 13th, 2014 | Comments Off

Join the Vacant Property Research Network for appetizers during the Urban Affairs Association conference in San Antonio to share ideas, find collaborators, discuss funding options, and pilot a match-making service for researchers and practitioners. Thursday, March 20th // 4:30pm – 6:00pm Cork Bar @ Hotel Contessa (across from the Westin) For more information about how to meet our advisory board members throughout the week, please click here.  

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Leader Profile: Michael Pagano

| March 13th, 2014 | Comments Off

A Conversation with Michael Pagano VPRN recently spoke with advisory board member and University of Illinois at Chicago professor Michael Pagano about why some cities welcome vacant land, what intrigues him about land banking, and how urban greening reminds him of the early 20th century progressives. Below is an excerpt. For a lot of policymakers, an automatic response to a vacant lot might be the desire to get the property back to producing taxes for the city. What’s wrong with that response? To accelerate the placing of a vacant land back on the tax rolls may be an unwise move because there may be a better use if some time can go by. I think that when we think of vacant land, one thinks of vacant land as more the dilapidated structures, the abandoned lands, and not in transition, not just sitting fallow. That’s not always the case for vacant

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Leader Profile: Terry Schwarz

| February 27th, 2014 | Comments Off

A Conversation with Terry Schwarz VPRN recently spoke with advisory board member Terry Schwarz about her work with Cleveland’s Urban Design Collaborative, passion for vacant properties, and plans to explore the space next to Ohio’s largest men’s emergency shelter. Below is an excerpt. For Terry’s thoughts about Cleveland’s “gray” sewer infrastructure and how vacant property could have helped it to go green, click here to access a March 2014 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. VPRN: Where did you get the idea for Pop Up City? Around 2007 we hosted a Phillipp Oswalt Shrinking Cities Exhibition. It was in Cleveland briefly between its more formal stops in Detroit and New York City. We found that when we had the exhibition here, people sort of looked at it, and, they thought it was interesting but people weren’t engaged in the issues. This was before the foreclosure crisis was as apparent as

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New Article: Fighting the Vacant Property Plague

| November 22nd, 2013 | Comments Off

Metropolitan Institute Visiting Fellow John Russo, has published a new article in New Geography, titled Fighting the Vacant Property Plague. Russo digs in to the issues surrounding banks abandoning foreclosed properties and how cities are innovating to address the growing blights.

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Networking Lunch: American Society of Landscape Architects

| November 13th, 2013 | Comments Off

VPRN advisory board member Justin Hollander, who is an  Associate Professor at Tufts University, will host a networking lunch on Friday, November 15th for attendees of the American Society of Landscape Architect‘s annual meeting. If you are working with vacant properties or shrinking cities, please join Hollander to share ideas, find collaborators, and devise funding strategies: Flour Bakery + Cafe @ 12 Farnsworth Street #1  // 12:15pm – 1:00pm. Register for this complimentary lunch at  

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