They're not lost, precisely: 2,824 vacant and seriously neglected lots in Fairhill aren't hard to find, just hard to deal with. The area, once a bustling manufacturing district and home to a significant Latino community struggled after many of its factories were shut down, leaving vast expanses of open space in their wake. One architect is documenting these lots, in an effort to "find" them, or at least find a use for them.
Ariel Vasquez works as an architect, but also spends large amounts of his free time mapping lots that he considers empty (his definition and the city's definition sometimes differ). As a one-man operation, he's not pushing ahead with a clear vision. Rather, he says he wants "do it very naively, slowly, to understand the laws and the community." He's put together a system of graphing and mapping lots. He even stood in a vacant lot with a megaphone, once, to try to start a dialogue with passersby.
The website that hosts the project, Claiming Places Lab, also supports other work in North Kensington that centers on place and community space.
· Claiming Places [Project Blog]
· Lost Lots of Philadelphia [Metropolis Blog]