Through participatory strategies, the proposed book seeks to tap into community spirit to convert urban blight to sites of urban pride and in the process reduce gun violence.The past decade witnessed increased practice and scholarship focused on urban open and green spaces across the country, which are often uplifted as having a multitude of social, psychological, health, and economic benefits for residents. These spaces have often emerged from vacant lots and distressed properties that have been torn down because of the safety hazards they present. A review of the literature on vacant lot effect on health found they influence a wide-range of conditions, including attracting gun violence (Sivak, Pearson, & Hurlburt, 2021).
Enhancing green spaces, such as parks and gardens, where they exist, or introducing them where they do not through conversion of lots, has taken center stage in urban communities of color as a means of addressing a range of social problems, including reducing various forms of violence (Peréa et al., 2019). In instances where vacant lots are converted to green spaces, the benefits can be significant. Urban green space environments promote trust, democratic principles, and resiliency (Hoffman, 2019). This goal, as a result, is worthy of attention for urban-focused researchers, practitioners, and academics.
This book seeks to accomplish six goals: (1) present a state of the art picture of vacant lot and distressed properties conversion; (2) use of case illustrations to concretize values and practice techniques; (3) identify the rewards and challenges of undertaking this form of practice on urban gun violence; (4) identify specific values and principles undergirding urban practice and vacant lots; (5) provide readers with a grounding on the major strategies for reducing urban gun violence to serve as a backdrop for vacant lot conversion; and (6) identify a series of research and practice principles that can guide gun violence reduction interventions.
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