Vacant to Vibrant

As the US Senate unveils a major infrastructure bill, we take a look at successful green infrastructure projects in various US cities

Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Successful Green Infrastructure Networks

Albro, Sandra L. Island Press, 2019
190p index, 9781610919005 $25.00, 9781610919012 $24.99

Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Successful Green Infrastructure Networks book cover

The Vacant to Vibrant project was a multiyear undertaking in cities along the Great Lakes “to convert small, vacant parcels to ‘stormwater parks’ … to address three problems affecting post-industrial cities—excess vacant land, aging sewer infrastructure, and declining neighborhoods.” Albro led the project, and in publishing this book, she hopes to encourage others to get involved in regenerating overlooked places in their cities and neighborhoods. The book focuses on three cities—Buffalo (NY), Cleveland (OH), and Gary (IN)—and Albro begins with historical context, examining issues such as population loss, traditional modes of operation, and disinvestment. She then delves into project planning—parcel selection, design, and community engagement—and implementation, including maintenance and lessons learned. She highlights specific projects in the three cities, sites ranging from a play area to a pocket park to a handball court. In the final chapters, she focuses on sustainability and scaling up projects’ concepts for larger properties. The text is peppered with black-and-white illustrations (largely area maps), design plans, and site layouts for lots. An excellent complement to Urban Neighborhoods in a New Era: Revitalization Politics in the Postindustrial City, by Clarence Stone et al. ​(CH, Mar’16, 53-3292).

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
L. B. Allsopp, Arizona State University
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Environmental Studies, Urban Studies
Subject: Science & Technology – Engineering
Choice Issue: Oct 2019

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