I've been searching for the name of this type of space for a while and have been reduced to asking the question here. It's not a square (usually located in a city around residential areas) and it's not a park. It's just open space usually located in industrial zones or, for example, outside of a terminal. I thought "esplanade" would work, but I want to make sure there's not a more precise word.

It's a rather large area around a factory. Example picture from Forbes

  • What sort of size is the 'open space' are you considering? Sep 16, 2022 at 16:39
  • We are here to help each other. Provide some fill-in-the-blank sentences elucidating what you want this word to convey.
    – banuyayi
    Sep 16, 2022 at 17:27
  • 2
    The photo linked in comment definitely does not show an esplanade which is a pleasurable walking area near a river, coast, lake etc. It's more like waste ground or a storage area. Sep 16, 2022 at 18:55
  • What is the land used for? It will have a specific name if it's used for parking, storage, testing things, marshalling, loading, assembling, exercise, or some other purpose (even as a buffer zone around something dangerous). If it's not used at all, left empty, recently cleared, or planned for further development, there are other terms. Right now all we can call it is an open space.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 16, 2022 at 20:13
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    Assuming it's all owned by the same entity, that's the yard of that building. If it's not owned, it's an empty lot. If you're looking to sell it, it's called an EPA nightmare.
    – Mazura
    Sep 17, 2022 at 21:59

5 Answers 5


It could be called a brownfield site.

Merriam-Webster has

a tract of land that has been developed for industrial purposes, polluted, and then abandoned

Collins has

Brownfield land is land in a town or city where houses or factories have been built in the past, but which is not being used at the present time.

  • @WeatherVane You: It wasn't Blair and Brown, Me: *“popularised by the Blair–Brown government”. See building.co.uk/my-vision-for-social-housing/3043036.article
    – Greybeard
    Sep 17, 2022 at 20:17
  • @Greybeard yes, I noticed the hump in the N-Grams chart. Sep 17, 2022 at 20:18
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    This American's never heard it and I frequent empty lots in industrial parks all the time.
    – Mazura
    Sep 17, 2022 at 21:51
  • Having looked at the Google n-grams I see that this term appeared at about the same time in Britain and the US. I regard it as a neologism as my reference is the standard English of the 1950s and this did not appear until the early 1990s. The dictionary definitions seem rather restricted in specifying that the land must have been built on for industrial purposes previously. Perhaps that is usually the case. But it is a valid answer to the original written question.
    – David
    Sep 18, 2022 at 17:12

Vacant lot

an area of land that is not built on, usually in a town or city, sometimes one that is available to buy or rent:

Yes, it's two words, but it is the phrase I would expect to hear.



“an empty area of land, especially in or near a city, that is not used to grow crops or built on, or used in any way” (Cambridge dictionary online)

has been used in both Britain and the USA since the 1930s (see Google Books ngram) but does not appear in the original Oxford English Dictionary (1922) as a single word.

In order to satisfy the description of the poster: “open space usually located in industrial zones” i.e. to distinguish it from a barren and uncultivated agricultural area the term used is:

Industrial Wasteland

Note, the poster only asks for a name, not a single word.

Certainly, a Google Books search for “Industrial Wasteland” illustrates the frequency with which this term is used, and how apposite it is.


The image provided subsequently by the poster does not seem to me to reflect his verbal description. It looks more like an area that has recently been cleared ready for new building.

  • The photo shows it isn't empty, or a wasteland, but is well maintained and used for storage. I don't think either of our answers is right on it. Sep 16, 2022 at 19:48
  • @WeatherVane — Agreed. But are we sure the poster didn't pick up the first pic that vaguely fitted? In any case I don't think there is a general term that describes the area in the pic — it looks like an area that has been cleared and flattened for new build, which is not what the description states. We provided English terms that correspond to the description, which are of more general interest and more suitable for this site.
    – David
    Sep 16, 2022 at 20:16

What about a "yard"? M.W.: "an area with its buildings and facilities set aside for a particular business or activity"

Or maybe a "lot"? M.W.: "a portion of land"

EDIT: Dang, @Mazura said it in a comment already but still, here it is.

  • I tend to think of a yard as a paved or metalled (tarmac or asphalt in the UK, blacktop or asphalt in the US) area. A space like that in the picture would be a storage area to me. Of course 'front yards' in the US are what we think of as 'front gardens' so I assume that yards are more frequently unpaved in the US.
    – BoldBen
    Sep 19, 2022 at 7:56

Purlieu pl. purlieus.(Wiktionary)

  1. (historical) The ground on the edges of a forest, especially when partly subject to the same forest laws concerning game hunting etc.

  2. The outskirts of any place; an adjacent district; the environs or neighborhood.

Other words that may serve your purpose


  1. A plot of land; a lot.
  2. A map showing the boundaries of real properties (delineating one or more plots of land), especially one that forms part of a legal document.
  3. (obsolete) A plot, a scheme.

Vista (Wiktionary)

  1. A distant view or prospect, especially one seen through some opening, avenue or passage.
  2. A site offering such a view. (figuratively)
  3. A vision; a view presented to the mind in prospect or in retrospect by the imagination.

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