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Tuesday, April 10 • 11:00am - 11:15am
SYMPOSIA-10: Does a city’s land market affect its greening strategies? A cross-case study of Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia

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AUTHORS: Katherine Foo, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

ABSTRACT: Discussions of urban shrinkage have been conspicuously absent from the urban planning literature, although policy practitioners have applied temporary strategies, especially urban greening initiatives, to urban vacant land. However, little is known about the role of temporary strategies on urban development, and the institutional configurations that translate temporary into permanent uses. I ask the question: do weaker land markets foster civic environmental coalitions? I answer this question by examining the influence of land markets on urban governance through a comparative study of three US cities with different land markets: Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.The three cases show that urban vacant land becomes recognized as a resource after it is confronted as a governance problem. The bigger the problem of vacancy, the greater the political will that the government possesses in addressing and managing it through civic environmental coalition building. However, the bigger the problem of urban vacancy, the less capacity the government has to manage it, and the fewer incentives developers have to invest. It appears, then, that the political will for land-based greening initiatives appears to be counter-cyclically related to the strength of the city’s land market. The greater the political will driving a city to address vacant land, the less financial capacity it possesses to follow through on its goals.

Tuesday April 10, 2018 11:00am - 11:15am CDT
Hancock Parlor