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Lots for greening: Identification of metropolitan vacant land and its potential use for cooling and agriculture in Phoenix, AZ, USA

Smith, Jordan P., Li, Xiaoxiao, Turner, B.L.
Applied geography 2017 v.85 pp. 139-151
buildings, food deserts, geography, heat island, inventories, planning, remote sensing, Arizona
The greening of vacant parcels for urban sustainability continues to gain attention from researchers and practitioners, including its use to ameliorate the urban heat island effect and food deserts. Planning for such uses requires accurate inventories of the amount and distribution of vacant parcels, which may prove difficult to produce for large, sprawling urban complexes. This study provides a systematic approach that combines remote sensing and cadastral data to distinguish different forms of vacant land for the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area while reducing computation time. The approach identifies vacant parcels for potential greening, focusing on privately owned land lacking buildings and impervious surfaces. The results for the Phoenix area reveal hot spots of these parcels, many of which reside along the fringe of the metropolis awaiting development. A large number of vacant parcels, however, reside within the metropolitan core and are suitable for greening as well, potentially serving to mitigate the urban heat island effect and food deserts in this region. The identification method and parcel results are detailed.