Vacant Hillsides

The removal of buildings from urban sites not only affects neighborhood narratives, it also has direct detrimental effects on the disturbed site. The foundations of homes often function as a retention system to the surrounding land. By removing the foundation and disturbing the soil, the surrounding land becomes susceptible to landslides and drainage problems that can affect both neighbors and the ecosystem.


Landslides are a significant infrastructure and environmental problem in Ohio with the greatest concentration of incidents occurring in the Cincinnati region. The term “landslide” is used as a general term to describe the downhill movement of a quantity of earth. When a building and its foundation are removed from a site, the soil is often left loosely packed, allowing water to permeate. Excessive moisture can cause slippage and add weight, especially following the removal of the foundation which retained the sloped soil. The disruption of roots around the foundation further inhibits the earth’s ability to retain itself.

Click the images below to learn more.

Landslide 1 Landslide 2

Hillsides Case Study: Mount Auburn, Cincinnati, OH

A large portion of urban Cincinnati is included in designated Hillside Protection Districts. The removal of buildings can, and will, degrade the hillside condition. These images show that over 50% of Mount Auburn’s vacant parcels are within the Hillside Protection District.

Landslide 3

Photo credits here.