(De)Constructing a Site

Vacant Lots as Placemakers

With declining populations and shifting housing demographics, vacant buildings and lots will continue in Cincinnati. These vacancies do not always have to be portrayed as a negative impact on a neighborhood, or even the city as a whole. Instituting responsible demolition practices for vacant buildings can create a market for salvaging old building materials that can then be used as design elements on the resultant vacant lot. These salvaged materials not only have a positive impact on the environment by saving valuable landfill space, but they can also continue the memory of the building’s past in the neighborhood.

Vacant lots also hold immense potential to provide spaces for cultural activities. Encouraging residents to engage with vacant lots, and to encourage cultural activities, changes the identity of a vacant lot from negative to positive. This chapter looks at a few ways in which vacant lots can be transformed from spaces to places and encourage residents to care for their community.