Vacant urban areas: Causes and interconnected factors

Galen Newman, Yunmi Park, Ann O.M. Bowman, Ryun Jung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Vacant urban areas (VUAs) can consist of both vacant land and abandoned structures. In this article, the authors summarize a recent survey on VUA, examine current conditions and causes of VUA, and explore the possible interconnections among these conditions and causes. The research examines employment, fiscal position, elasticity, population alteration, and regional location as primary variables. We find that VUAs are not interchangeable indicators of urban decay. Vacant land is most often associated with cities that have expanded their political boundaries while structural abandonment is more related to a city's population loss. Improvement of the local economy may not necessarily help reduce vacant land while structural abandonment is more sensitive to a city's economic status. Regional planning for VUAs, the strategic location of new industries and jobs, and new population/density regulatory approaches could be the next phase in addressing VUA changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Land use policy
  • Structural abandonment
  • Urban decline
  • Urban regeneration
  • Vacant land


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