North Side’s vacant parcels surveyed

When three North Siders began counting vacant lots in the area’s 19 neighborhoods last spring, they used the city’s designations to define them and, with help from a nonprofit that focuses on green redevelopment, came up with 5,399.

But numbers can mislead: 38 percent of the total is woods; 11 percent comprises side yards people use, legally or not. That takes care of about 50 percent of the North Side’s vacancy. What is left are gardens, little parks and parking lots, temporarily “greened” links between commercial buildings, and a whopping 2,039 lots in need of love.