Green Vacant Land

There are approximately 40,000 vacant parcels in the City of Philadelphia. Philadelphia Water (PWD) is working with City agencies and community groups to identify vacant parcels that have green stormwater management potential. By managing stormwater on vacant land we can help beautify Philadelphia’s neighborhoods while protecting our creeks and rivers.

About stormwater management on vacant land

As part of the City of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, PWD is seeking opportunities to manage stormwater on vacant land using green infrastructure. By using green tools such as rain gardens, we can capture runoff water from rain and snowstorms and allow it to absorb into the soil, where flowers and trees can soak it up. Storing rain where it lands reduces the amount of stormwater runoff entering the sewer system and reduces combined sewer overflows, which helps keep our waterways clean while beautifying our neighborhoods.

The Vacant Land Green Stormwater Infrastructure initiative will:

  • Partner with City agencies, City Council and community organizations to identify vacant land appropriate for green infrastructure and gain community input on vacant land projects.
  • Incorporate green stormwater infrastructure into new and existing green spaces on vacant land, such as community gardens and parks.
  • Focus on low-value vacant land that is not desirable for development or other community uses.
  • Prioritize vacant land that maximizes capture of stormwater runoff.

Interested in greening a vacant lot in your community?

If your civic organization would like to partner with PWD on a green vacant lot project, please submit your idea using our Community Input From at www. phillywatersheds.org/cif. Instructions are available at the link. When selecting projects, we look at where the water flows on the parcel and we try to choose sites that can capture the most stormwater runoff possible.

Partnerships for Vacant Land

PWD works closely with City Council, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and other organizations to encourage collaboration and ensure that the vacant lots selected for green stormwater management projects coincide with community plans and redevelopment.

Green vacant lots in Philadelphia

Haverford Triangle
Heston Lot
Clearview & Washington

Download our printer-friendly Vacant Land fact sheet.