Science meet Vacant Lots – Urban Health Watch

In the past decade, the fields of Urban Planning and Epidemiology have gloriously been crossing paths both in academia and amongst practitioners. Innovations such as health impact statements (HIS) in land use and rezoning requests is one benefit of this cross-discipline pollination.

After a decade-long comparison of vacant lots and improved lots, a University of Pennsylvania study found that “greening was linked to significant reductions in gun assaults across most of Philadelphia and significant reductions in vandalism in one section of the city; further, vacant lot greening was also associated with residents in certain sections of the city reporting significantly less stress and more exercise.”

Often Planning talks about how improvements to urban infrastructure and surroundings can improve a resident’s real and/or perceived safety and quality of life. This University of Pennsylvania study, offers a scientific, rational conception of what is often fuzzy and difficult for planners and policy makers to convey when limited resources are up for grabs come budget and review time.

To read more of this article:

Rehabilitating Vacant Lots Improves Urban Health and Safety