As the city puts together its master plan for lower North Philadelphia (the area is bounded by Poplar on the south, Lehigh on the north, Fairmount park on the west, and Frankford Ave on the East), they're finding that so many buildings are vacant it would be impossible to fill them all. Some people live on blocks so empty that they could be classified as "semi-rural" areas.
Huge tracts of vacant land can't all be used for housing: the population just isn't big enough. On top of that, the extremely low density in the area makes it impossible to provide adequate transit service to those who need it.
Just how much vacancy is there? 13% of all properties are vacant, including 8,000 vacant properties and 10,600 vacant lots. There are also 45 ghost parks in the area, which are parks that have fallen out of use, or tracts of land once designated for park building, that are, for the most part, empty and used mostly for trash dumping.
The city will talk to residents of blocks that are near empty and ask if they're satisfied with the situation. If not, the city may consider buying those residents out, and designating that land for a purpose other than housing. Some possibilities include farms, or maybe even a stable for horses. The city's plan for the area is still nebulous, but the plans will likely include a dramatic reconfiguration of the area.
· More vacant property than can be filled in Lower North Philadelphia [Plan Philly]