How do I start a project like 596 Acres in my city?

The original pilot project that grew into 596 Acres was an interactive online map of all known public vacant land in New York City. That map is available at Living Lots NYC and has been adapted for other cities as well. Since 596 Acres began, we have worked with and advised community land access advocates from cities around the world.

Our tools turn city data into information about particular pieces of land and connect people to one another through simple social networking functions.

Read on for more information about creating tools for your own city, whether on your own or with help from 596 Acres.

A 596 Acres inspired sign in Montreal, Canada

A 596 Acres inspired sign in Montreal, Canada

Where do I start looking for land that my neighbors and I can use?

The place to start is the city or county property register, which will tell you definitively who owns what. Usually, the register is set up for use by those who have a particular property in mind. You’ll want to find out how to contact the office that maintains the register in your city or county and call them: ask how to get a list or map of public land. Your city planning department might also be a help. We started our project with data, but if you have a particular property in mind, you’ll be able to follow the steps we outline on the Pathways to Land Access page on Living Lots NYC.

Can I build a version of Living Lots® for my city?

Yes! You can also build your own version of 596 Acres’ tools either using the Living Lots code or on your own.

See Maps for Other Cities for a list of groups that have adapted 596 Acres  strategies to their own cities!

Can you share the code used to create Living Lots?

Our code base, Living Lots, is open source and free to use; just be sure to attribute and make your improvements available for us and others to use. Code and detailed instructions available on GitHub.

Can you help me build a tool like Living Lots for my city?

Yes we can. The 596 Acres team is available to consult with you on your project in another city. Contact us to discuss a fee structure for customizing tools and tactics for your group or organization.

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