Cities and towns across the country face a number of complex problems associated with vacant and abandoned properties, including public health concerns, environmental hazards and reduced property values. Solving these problems is a formidable challenge for any city, but solutions too often lack the long-term vision and planning necessary to rejuvenate a disintegrated community.
In Philadelphia, a city with more than 40,000 vacant properties, one nonprofit organization took an innovative approach to addressing the problem. Philadelphia’s City Parks Association (CPA), a non-profit land use organization, has played a catalytic role in establishing and maintaining public parks and open space in urban areas of Philadelphia. With a mission “to stimulate visionary thinking about natural resources and open space in the urban community” and experience in city planning, CPA recognizes that Philadelphia’s ecology and community engagement are essential parts for finding solutions to the city’s vacant property issues.