The PHS Philadelphia LandCare program cleans, greens, and stabilizes vacant lots to help return them to productive use. Since its start, more than 800 properties are now used for housing, commercial properties, and green spaces.
The LandCare program holds two primary initiatives: “Clean and Green” and Community LandCare. The “Clean and Green” program targets vacant parcels in neighborhoods without open or green spaces. PHS then hires city-based landscape contractors, who clean and mow the lots twice per month from April through October.
Through the Community LandCare initiative, PHS works with 18 community organizations. Together, we hire local residents to perform landscape maintenance work on vacant lots in their neighborhoods.
Residents living near cleaned and greened lots experience many health benefits. These benefits include decreased stress levels and increased exercise among local community members. A 2018 study of Philadelphia LandCare lots saw residents living near these spaces experienced a 40% decrease in feelings of depression. Another study showed a 29% decrease in gun violence in neighborhoods with Philadelphia LandCare lots. As the video below illustrates, a study by the Institute of Urban Research with funding by Analytics at Wharton showed properties within a 1,000-foot radius of a greened lot will experience, on average, a 4.3% rise in value after the first year and a 13% cumulative increase after six years.
Today, PHS Philadelphia LandCare collaborates with PHS's ongoing workforce development program. Current landscape contractors and community organizations have hired and trained more than 25 people that have been incarcerated to perform landscape services in their communities. This action added 2,000 new vacant parcels to the LandCare maintenance inventory, bringing the 2021 total to more than 13,000 lots under Philadelphia LandCare management.