Marc Lefkowitz | 12/15/10 @ 9:48am
Youngstown is oft-cited as ground zero for "shrinking cities" experiments-the turning of vacant lots and sub-prime-induced blight into productive green spaces has really taken off in the city's Idora neighborhood. Instead of a 'peanut butter' approach, Youngstown launched Lots of Green, a program that invites residents and community development pros in this hard hit area to focus on converting 100% of vacant lots into gardens and green spaces. The results, while small in acreage, may prove there's catalytic impact in the concentration of resources in one area for a while:
The program's first year of operation (2010) was focused in the Idora neighborhood on Youngstown's southwest side. Over the course of 2010, Lots of Green returned 115 parcels of vacant land (approx. 14.5 acres) to productive use. The parcels were transformed utilizing a number of green strategies including: the development of five community gardens, many sideyards, a stormwater mitigation demonstration site, an expansion of the adjacent Mill Creek Metropolitan Park District, several pocket parks, a block long demonstration site which includes the development of a soil research project led by The Ohio State University.
This work has dramatically changed the Idora neighborhood over the course of the past twelve months and is working toward the continued creation of a more resilient and sustainable neighborhood.