Interface Studio led a team to develop a strategic plan (the first of its kind) for the newly created Philadelphia Land Bank - the largest in the country. The 2015 Philadelphia Land Bank Strategic Plan is intended to help set the ground rules for Land Bank activities by: identifying market conditions across the City, providing an inventory of vacant and tax delinquent properties that the Land Bank could take in, establishing goals to guide Land Bank activity, and identifying priority acquisition areas. As a citywide initiative of immense scale, the planning team embraced the opportunity to effectively use big data and GIS raster analysis to synthesize multiple data sets and guide discussions about where to target limited capacity and implementation resources in the early years of Land Bank operations.
Extensive mapping of the indicators and Focus Zones, coupled with diagrams that distill and simplify complex ideas about acquisition and disposition processes, together telling a story of where and how the Land Bank will take action. The Philadelphia Land Bank Strategic Plan is original and visionary in its cutting edge use of data and technology, and in its illustrated and narrative approach, which communicate the potential of the Land Bank to the public and elected officials, building the case for this important new tool in the City’s tool box for addressing the myriad problems created by distressed properties.
The Strategic Plan is built upon GIS analytics that overlay a selection of demographic and market indicators to identify “Focus Zones” where the Land Bank will proactively support the production of affordable and accessible housing, grow private investment in neighborhoods adjacent to already strong markets, expand economic development activities to support existing and new businesses, and protect community uses like gardens, market farms, and informal green spaces.