|Abstract:||In this post-industrial era, economic shifts have led to changes in the structure of urban space and the evolution of land use. Due to industrial transformation and rapid urbanization, the traditional urban manufacturing centers have moved to suburban territories on the periphery. For example, parts of old railways declined over the years, and these abandoned railroads have led to low utilization of surrounding areas. Urban wasted spaces and lands have become the prevailing situation, with many unresolved environmental issues that cause decline in the efficient use of city land. This influences the comfort and humanity of the urban environment and damages the quality of cities and the urban landscape. However, to some extent, the free and unregulated characteristics of urban wasted spaces provide an opportunity for high levels of biodiversity and related benefits to ecological and human health. In order to improve the utilization of urban spaces, my thesis focuses on the dynamics of urbanization, examines the causes and effect of wasted lands, and explores the possibility of activating existing vacant places.
The Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois has fewer parks and public green spaces than surrounding neighborhoods, more and more underutilized lands have recently emerged. According to the time interval of land retirement and the intervention in its current use, the development of different stages of vegetation dominates the current attribution and objective condition of the lands. This thesis, taking the Pilsen neighborhood as its research case, discusses the benefits, criteria, and methods of the regeneration of vacant lands based on spontaneous vegetation. The regeneration of derelict spaces must be carried out according to the overall urban development framework and the potential value of the vacancy, which should be examined carefully.
The research consists of four phases. The first phase is an analysis of the impact of vacant spaces in the Pilsen neighborhood in terms of three aspects of urbanism: ecology, society, and economy. Then I argue the potential benefit and value of derelict and vacant spaces with spontaneous plants. The third phase is to propose a reconsideration of wastelands to natural succession as a worthy, economic and positive part of the urban landscape. The last part is the research design of Pilsen based on a series of methods of transformation and integration of vacancy. The goals of the research include redevelopment that could potentially activate positive change in vacant spaces and articulating criteria for the selection of sites to be developed. This thesis addresses the need for a new perspective on urban wasteland being integrated as potential green and open city spaces. The outcome should provide some references for planners and the public in the future.