June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Community Engagement Division
The Vacant Lot Optimization (VLO) Matrix began as a project for the University X Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Boeing Team Tech Competition. The SWE Team initially developed project ideas that were brought to a neighborhood association in the Southeast Neighborhood of City Y, a mid-size city in the midwest. Through active listening and open communication, the team’s preconceived notions gave way to a customer-driven participatory design approach involving planning the project with the neighbors, rather than doing it to or for them. Through an iterative process of voting and creating decision matrices that juxtaposed team skills and interests with neighborhood needs and wants, the VLO Matrix project was selected. In response to City Y’s initiative which aimed to repair or demolish vacant and abandoned houses across the City transforming blighting influence negatives to neutral, the VLO Matrix defines and prioritizes a plan for reuse to take vacant lots from neutral to positive to benefit the neighborhood. Over the 2015-2016 academic year, the team used a geographical information system (ArcGIS) to integrate technical, economic and social factors contributing to the optimal reuse strategy for each vacant lot. During a 2016 summer internship program, a comprehensive field verification of matrix data was conducted. The VLO Matrix will be calibrated by expert city planners to verify solution viability, and additional neighborhood survey data will be collected to obtain current community perspective regarding vacant lots in their neighborhood. Housing market research and costs of reuse options will be added into the economic layer to provide financial parameters. The end goal of developing the VLO Matrix is to provide an accessible user interface that allows city planners, neighborhood associations and community developers to support decisions regarding future projects related to redeveloping vacant lots.
Mayers, S. D., & Londergan, E. M., & Czarnecki, A., & Brockman, J. B., & Gilot, G. A., & Goodrich, V. E., & Hergenrother, M., & Bruggeman, A. (2017, June), Engagement in Practice: Vacant Lot Optimization Matrix Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28242
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