The City of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, along with other city agencies, is planning for new strategies to address vacant land issues in Philadelphia. As part of this effort, RDA engaged the Econsult Corporation and the Penn Institute for Urban Research to estimate the costs of vacant land to the City, and to assess the feasibility of urban agriculture on vacant land owned by the RDA.
The RDA controls 2,500 vacant parcels within Philadelphia, of which the vast majority are in economically depressed neighborhoods. Given the unlikelihood that the real estate market will develop such parcels in the near future, the Econsult Corporation and Penn IUR team researched best practices in other cities and proposed a method to make vacant land temporarily available for urban agriculture, then fairly compensate the user if a rise in property values results in possible development. In the meantime, a neighborhood can enjoy the positive amenities of a cleaned, greened, productive parcel.