Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy



In July 2013, the Consensus Group gave the community a sneak-peek of this important piece of the Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy.


Neighborhood Issue: Vacant Property


Completed in 2011, the Greater Hill District Master Plan features two main components: Program Initiatives and Urban Design Proposals. The Program Initiatives presented policies and programs designed to fulfill community goals. The Urban Design Proposals presented projects to improve the physical environment and to leverage development. During the planning process, community members discussed numerous topics to address in the Master Plan, including the issue of vacant property in the neighborhood. As a result, the completed plan includes a program initiative called the Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy:  

“Current best practices recognize that a blanket treatment of vacant lots and buildings is much less effective than a strategy targeted towards the specific characteristics of the neighborhood and each vacant property. This strategy creates a vacant property plan for the Hill that considers the size, location and adjacent uses of vacant lots and buildings in order to recommend the most appropriate next step for each --- maintain as permanent open space, use as temporary open space, or designate as a long-term development site. Beyond identifying potential next steps for vacant properties, this program could also include some degree of capacity for maintaining lots and buildings until disposition. Use the Hill District Historic Inventory to prioritize rehabilitation.”

Taking the Initiative


In 2012, the Consensus Group took the first step to explore this important program initiative. The Consensus Group opened a Request-For-Proposals and assembled a team of consultants to study the issue of vacant property. With the Master Plan as a guide, the team worked with these Program Initiative goals in mind:
  • Enable the community to capitalize on the opportunity and potential in abandoned and vacant properties and protect against speculators by holding vacant properties in order to facilitate their desired neighborhood redevelopment.
  • Increase property values and improve neighborhood appearance.
  • Increase sense of ownership/stewardship.
  • Create better communication with City regarding demolition.


The CVPS Study


Over the course of the study, the team collected data by surveying vacant properties and accessing local government and nonprofit databases. Once they completed data collection, the team researched best practices and incorporated community plans (Hill District Master Plan and Greenprint Plans) into the study recommendations. In addition to their final report, the team built a database and visualized it using a Geographic Information System (GIS). Basically, the GIS lets users visually interact with the vacant property data via a series of digital maps.  Presently, the team is assisting with building a program to implement the study recommendations.


The Comprehensive Vacant Property Strategy report is now available!

[ Click Here ]


Condemned Listing Online
[ Click Here ]

Demolitions in the Hill District (Wards 3 and 5) - Year 2013 
[ Click Here ]

BBI Demolition Bids website
[ Click Here ]



Data from City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Building Inspection (BBI)
HDCG Started Tracking this Data on 6/26/2013


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