A comparison of vacancy dynamics between growing and shrinking cities using the Land Transformation Model

Jaekyung Lee, Galen Newman, Yunmi Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Every city seeks opportunities to spur economic developments and, depending on its type, vacant land can be seen as a potential threat or an opportunity to achieve these developments. Although vacant land exists in all cities, the causes and effects of changes in vacant land can differ. Growing cities may have more vacant land than shrinking cities because of large scale annexation. Meanwhile, depopulation and economic downturn may increase the total amount of vacant and abandoned properties. Despite various causes of increase and decrease of vacant land, the ability to predict future vacancy patterns-where future vacant parcels may occur-could be a critical test to set up appropriate development strategies and land use policies, especially in shrinking cities, to manage urban decline and regeneration efforts more wisely. This study compares current and future vacancy patterns of a growing city (Fort Worth, TX, USA) and a shrinking city (Chicago, IL, USA), by employing the Land Transformation Model (LTM) to predict for future vacant lands. This research predicts and produces possible vacancy pattern scenarios by 2020 and deciphers the ranking of determinants of vacant land in each city type. The outcomes of this study indicate that the LTM can be useful for simulating vacancy patterns and the causes of vacancy vary in both growing and shrinking cities. Socio-economic factors such as unemployment rate and household income are powerful determinants of vacancy in a growing city, while physical and transportation-related conditions such as proximity to highways, vehicle accessibility, or building conditions show a stronger influence on increasing vacant land in a shrinking city.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1513
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - 10 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This work was supported by the Hongik University new faculty research support fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors.


  • Land transformationmodel
  • Urban land use changemodel
  • Urban regeneration
  • Vacant land


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