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Thread: Vacant and abandoned property mapping

  1. #1
    Mar 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio

    Vacant and abandoned property mapping


    Long-time lurker here looking for some advice from you.

    I'm mapping a small neighborhood (400 standard-sized residential parcels), and the status of the properties there. My maps will display vacant land, abandoned homes and buildings, properties in foreclosure and those that are tax-delinquent or have tax certificates, and those owned by the city and the city landbank.

    What colors are standard for these types of things? I honestly have no clue, and have just been selecting colors on my own. Please help! Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    Have you tried APA's Land Based Classification Standards?

    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    At the risk of being contrarian, I never really understood the need for a standardized coloring gradient for map representation in planning. I mean really....why? I have seen some zoning maps that have too many closely related zoning districts that the difference between similar but different districts is nearly indistinguishable because the color gradient between the two is so minor.

    I actually prefer to disregard the color standards and make my colors distinct enough from each other so that they can be easily distinguished individually.

    but...yeah....NHP's suggestion is appropriate.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    I agree with Mendelman, although there is value to maintaining some standardization for major categories like housing, commercial, etc. The problem is when you begin to parse these classifications into finer distinctions or are trying to illustrate a specific point (like owned versus rented properties). As long as you have a key and legend (which every map should have), there should be no problem.

    That being said, our city GIS site lists vacant or abandoned properties in white - as if to say, "hey, nothing happening here!"
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    I have always used a standard shading pattern for the underlying use, then either used a lighter/darker shade of the color to denote vacancy, or an overlay of some sort.
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