Public Land for Public Good: Citywide Land Audit

Public Land for Public Good: Citywide Land AuditJune 21, 2022Link to full reportThe full report is available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.This article is currently available in English and  Spanish . Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese coming soon.As one of the largest real estate owners in Boston, the City of Boston has tremendous opportunities to use its property to improve the lives of Bostonians.  This Citywide Land Audit is an inventory of all City-owned property. It also identifies all property that is vacant or underutilized. The City will use this data to decide how best to deploy public land to serve Boston’s most urgent needs:Ensuring safe, healthy affordable housing for Boston residents. The City will identify locations to develop into new affordable units. Addressing homelessness through a public health lens. The City will devote public land for recovery services and transitional housing.Identifying transformative community development opportunities. Developing these sites can help knit together the fabric of our city.The City owns 176.9 million total square feet of real estate made up of 2,976 unique parcels of land. This includes property owned by the City of Boston and its quasi-City agencies: The Boston Planning & Development AgencyThe Boston Water and Sewer CommissionThe Boston Public Health CommissionThe Boston Housing AuthorityHomeZoom inZoom outHarvard University, City of Boston, Esri, HERE, Garmin, SafeGraph, GeoTechnologies, Inc, METI/NASA, USGS, EPA, NPS, USDAPowered by EsriAll parcels owned by the City of Boston. 1,238 of the City’s parcels (9.5 million square feet) are vacant or underutilized.Vacant & Underutilized Parcels owned by the City of Boston. Vacant and underutilized parcels tend to be much smaller than the City’s actively used parcels. They account for less than 5.4% of the City’s land portfolio on a square footage basis. Most are an appropriate size for small infill housing developments. They are too small for large multifamily or mixed use development. Three departments hold the most vacant and underutilized parcels:The Mayor’s Office of Housing has 921 vacant or underutilized parcels. These parcels represent the City’s inventory of tax-foreclosed property. Many of these parcels are in the City’s pipeline to be redeveloped as affordable housing or sold as remnant parcels. A significant portion are not buildable and are appropriate for open space uses.The Boston Planning & Development Agency has 176 vacant or underutilized parcels. The BPDA’s property inventory is mostly made up of properties acquired through Urban Renewal or through transfers from the federal government.The Boston Transportation Department has 50 parcels in use as municipal parking lots. These should be reviewed for conversion into larger development sites that meet public needs, particularly affordable housing. The City will assess the overall parking needs of the neighborhood when considering redevelopment.Vacant and Underutilized Parcels by Owner Many vacant parcels are already being developed, or are in the pipeline to be developed or preserved as open space in the future. 345 sites or 28% of vacant or underutilized parcels (2.9 million square feet) are currently undergoing an active, ongoing process to dispose of the land as of May 2022. In nearly all cases, the disposition process for the property has included substantial community planning and visioning for the future of the property.  526 sites or 42% of vacant or underutilized parcels (4.3 million square feet) are identified potential future projects in the pipeline of an existing program as of May 2022. While this generally means that the department with care and custody of the property has some idea of how the property can be productively used, this set of properties have yet to begin any active process for their redevelopment. The remaining vacant and underutilized parcels are not part of any pipeline. We identified which of these parcels present a high opportunity to meet the Mayor’s goals:106 sites or 9% of vacant or underutilized parcels (1.7 million square feet) have no plan and present a high opportunity for redevelopment as of May 2022. Planning for these parcels will include a robust community process.261 sites or 21% of vacant or underutilized parcels (0.7 million square feet) have no plan but have low opportunity for development or community use. Properties in this category may be very small or have strange dimensions which make them difficult to use productively. They should not be considered further for advancing community oriented development.Vacant and Underutilized Parcels by Project Status Explore key sites we have identified that could support the Mayor’s goals to create new supportive housing and affordable housing throughout Boston.01/111

Public Land for Public Good: Citywide Land Audit