In what seems to be an endless dirge of government waste and inefficiency, urban public lands across the US sitting vacant and in disrepair are being tacked on to the list. But there is hope yet, in the form of OpportunitySpace.
OpportunitySpace is a start-up company that is compiling and cataloging all unused government landholdings into an online database. The database, which is currently active in 3 cities, allows users to search for lots with certain specifications (within particular neighborhoods, with or without structures, zoning clearance, size, etc.) and gives them information on how to procure this land.
Prior to this innovation, ownership and information regarding these lots was scattered across agencies and departments, and not largely accessible to the public. The land itself sat empty and cost an estimated $1.7 billion per year in maintenance. By consolidating this information into one online database, access to and visibility of spaces for growth in these communities’ increases for local residents and potential investors.
By opening up unused public land for purchase or leasing, city governments are divested of the responsibility of maintaining the lots and bringing in funds, all while businesses are afforded new opportunities and the communities they move into a chance for greater economic development. The site is schedule to expand significantly within the several months, adding 9 cities across 7 states.