Lot Uses

What can you do with a vacant lot once you get it through the City of Chicago’s Large Lots Program? The Large Lots team has a few suggestions for you.

The Basics

Congratulations on purchasing your lot! Feel free to use the lot as you would your own yard.

If your lot is not adjacent to property you already own, you are required to fence the lot with a noncombustible screen fence while it remains vacant. Fences must be constructed so that at least half (50%) of the fence has openings that can be seen through (like a chain link fence). Fences taller than 5ft require an easy permit.

You must maintain the lot in accordance with the City of Chicago Municipal Code. Specifically, see the sections on weeds, lot maintenance and fences:

Property Tax
You will be required to pay annual property tax for your new lot. The amount you will pay is determined by the Cook County Assessor and based on the assessed value of the property and the tax rates for all local governments providing services in your community. You will not be required to pay back taxes on the property. See the frequently asked questions for more details.

William Hill Gallery in Woodlawn, photo by Andrew KoskiWilliam Hill Gallery in Woodlawn
photo by Andrew Koski

Lot from the Greater Englewood Area, photo by Finn JubakLot from the Greater Englewood Area
photo by US Forest Service

Bigger Ideas

You’re also welcome to develop your lot by building structures and facilities. These will likely require approval from the City of Chicago Department of Buildings and Department of Planning and Development.

Private Projects

Make your home more pleasant and valuable, or build new apartments for rent.


Private Projects

Community Projects

Turn your lot into a space your whole neighborhood can enjoy.


Public Projects

Other Projects

Projects that could be either private or for community use.


Public or Private Projects

Chicago Large Lots Activation Guide

Large Lots Activation Guide

This information was curated by LISC Chicago and Latent Design for the Chicago Large Lots Activation Guide.

Download the full guide (PDF)