Last updated on 03/29/2023
Safe, healthy, and vibrant communities start with improvements to
the physical environment
Host Clean & Green Event
Request loan tools and trash bags and organize a clean-up event in your neighborhood
More Green Spaces = More Safety
Multiple studies have shown that cleaning up and revitalizing vacant lots can make neighborhoods safer. Cities that have implemented vacant lot programs have seen decreases in violent crime by up to 40% and increases in perception of safety by as much as 58%.
The City has made several investments and created pathways to revitalize and beautify City-owned land for the benefit of community. The Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC) utilizes programs and services managed by City departments and other stakeholders in service of community to ensure a holistic approach that prioritizes the areas most impacted by community violence. Key efforts include:
StreetScape & Lot Cleaning:
- Vacant Lots Cleanup - Crews from Streets & Sanitation's Bureau of Street Operations clean thousands of vacant lots annually to remove weeds and dangerous debris.
- Clean and Green program - Upon request to 311, Streets & Sanitation loans tools and provides trash bags to community groups interested in hosting a Clean & Green event in their neighborhood, and then volunteers take it from there. Streets and Sanitation hosts annual citywide Clean & Green events each year to coincide with Earth Day. This year's event is scheduled for April 22nd, 2023. Learn more at chi.gov/clean&green
- Operation Clean - Led by the Chicago Police Department, Operation Clean is a multi-departmental approach to provide various services and resources to communities, including fixing broken streetlights and potholes, repairing damaged buildings, removing unwanted graffiti, and cleaning empty lots.
Vacant Lot Revitalization:
- Adopt a Lot is a program in which community-based organizations will receive a stipend for year-round maintenance of lots in their nieghborhoods. (More information will become available at a later date in 2023)
Green Industry Job Training:
- Greencorps Chicago is the City of Chicago's green-industry employment program with on-the-job training for individuals with barriers to employment
- Our Roots Chicago is a program with an historic commitment to greatly expand the City’s tree planting operations by planting 75,000 trees over the next five years
Wealth Building and Ownership:
- ChiBlockBuilder - Led by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), ChiBlockBuilder encourage the purchase and redevelopment of City-owned vacant land in partnership with community stakeholders
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Garvin EC, Cannuscio CC, Branas CC. Greening vacant lots to reduce violent crime: a randomised controlled trial. Inj Prev. 2013 Jun;19(3):198-203. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040439. Epub 2012 Aug 7. PMID: 22871378; PMCID: PMC3988203.
Hessam Sadatsafavi, Naomi A. Sachs, Mardelle M. Shepley, Michelle C. Kondo, Ruth A. Barankevich, Vacant lot remediation and firearm violence – A meta-analysis and benefit-to-cost evaluation, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 218, 2022, 104281, ISSN 0169-2046, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2021.104281.
Kondo M, Hohl B, Han S, Branas C. Effects of greening and community reuse of vacant lots on crime. Urban Stud. 2016 Nov;53(15):3279-3295. doi: 10.1177/0042098015608058. Epub 2015 Oct 20. PMID: 28529389; PMCID: PMC5436723.