Democratic Vacant Land Processes

In its utopic form, democracy is facilitated through widely dispersed power. Widely dispersed power allows for the fair and equitable negotiation of sometimes conflicting interests. Through negotiation, people are able to find positions of true (rather than coerced) compromise. This form of democracy is only possible through community organizing and engagement. The combination of organizing and engagement is instrumental to democracy’s foundational need for fair and equitable representation.

Through our Hill District program, Reclaim Central 2.0, we are attempting to use a democratic model for vacant land development. Our Ambassador model seeks to unite community elders and youth to reduce blight on vacant land. In our Ambassador sessions, we attempt to facilitate democratic discussions that serve as the planning for our two new Ambassador projects this fall and the refurbishing of our original Reclaim Central 1.0 projects.

Our ten Ambassadors and five youth Ambassadors are Hill District residents. With minimal assistance from Grounded, our Ambassadors locate and adopt vacant land parcels, create projects, and conduct volunteer days to ensure their projects are built and maintained. Community projects on vacant land show the connection between vacant land and democracy. If vacant land parcels are in the care of the city, who better to maintain and repurpose a vacant lot than a taxpayer? Throughout this summer, be on the lookout for our Ambassadors as their projects show the power of community-controlled vacant land parcels.

As always, Free the Land!

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