Our project, Retrofitting Landscapes, began as an exploration to build upon existing initiatives to reduce urban waterway pollution in the Cleveland, OH area. To adopt a site-based approach, our Dow Master's project team initiated a partnership with LAND studio, an organization interested in improving adjacent public spaces, and water quality of the Doan Brook Watershed. LAND studio is a non-profit design and place-making organization specializing in improving neighborhoods through public art, sustainable design, and inclusive and dynamic programming. The organization’s mission is to develop and implement innovative ideas by engaging in inclusive planning practices, and it is committed to sustainable design excellence and collaborative planning.
As a part of the 2015 Dow Master’s Fellow Cohort, our team worked to support the success of a new microgreen greenhouse, Black Pearl Gardens, located in the basement of The Black Pearl Restaurant. Our client, Christy Kaledas, is a microgreen grower hired by the Black Pearl to transform their basement space into a greenhouse. All of the crops grown will be served at the Black Pearl restaurant and other local businesses. Black Pearl expects to expand efforts to localize their menu, and promote their efforts by advertising the restaurant as a sustainable place to eat. Our team of fellows developed recommendations for many aspects of the project: social media analysis, project development/operations, logistics recommendation, environmental analysis, analysis of space, growth plan, and financial feasibility. The full report includes details of this project to used as a case study about urban farming.
With a focus on the role of transportation, researchers working on the Advancing Livable Communities through Sustainable Transportation Integrated Assessment (IA) asked: What policies, interventions, innovations, and partnerships best enable urban areas to create more livable communities? To answer this question, two research teams are working collaboratively with stakeholders and decision makers. Project 1 - Multi-Mode Transportation: Modeling Commuter Choice and Policy Options - Team: Richard Gonzalez, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, and David Chock, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Project 2 - A Roadmap for Sustainable Transportation: Connected, Automated, and Electric Vehicle Systems - Team: Steve Underwood, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Connected Vehicle Proving Center, University of Michigan-Dearborn
This factsheet presents data collected during a 2013-2014 survey of city administrators, managers commissioners, directors of departments, and other key decision-maker throughout the Great Lakes Region. The survey aimed to better understand how, if it all, climate influences the decisions they are making and if so, what they are doing to addressclimate impacts.
The City of Detroit has over 80,000 vacant residential properties and is demolishing thousands of vacant houses each year. This project uses Detroit’s vacant property demolition process as an opportunity to design and assess green infrastructure innovations that aim to make rivers cleaner and neighborhoods more attractive as a result of the demolition process. It will also identify governance processes that support the long term success of Green Infrastructure. Vegetation and soils are used to soak up and store storm water. Project partners have constructed high efficiency storm water storage, filling former sites of abandoned houses with beautiful flower gardens called bioretention gardens.
Improving the process of de-silting can play a key role in the local agriculture. There are more than 45,000 irrigation ponds in the Telangana region that need to be periodically de-silted in dry seasons to maintain their water storage capacity. Better management of the de-silting process can provide rural employment, and improve storage of rainwater for use during the dry season. Also, silt can be used as a fertilizer to improve land productivity and reduce the environmental footprint of farming in the region. An interdisciplinary student project team of Dow Sustainability Fellows at the University of Michigan (U-M) identified a need for systematic planning to include de-silting best practices into mainstream agriculture.
Beginning in the fall of 2014 and coming to a close in the summer of 2015, the Graham Institute conducted an internal evaluation of the Great Lakes Assessment Adaptation Assessment for Cities (GLAA-C’s) Integrated Assessment (IA) process. This effort served two primary purposes: 1) to evaluate how well the IA process helped GLAA-C meet its project goals (goals that were put forth in the original funding proposal submitted to the Kresge Foundation), and 2) to help Graham continue to reflect upon and learn from its IA projects in order to improve future IA projects. The evaluation focused on the perspectives of all key stakeholders directly involved in the project, including University of Michigan faculty researchers, city practitioners in the project’s six partner cities, and Graham staff members who contributed to the project.
GLOBAL IMPACT ARTICLE SERIES
Many organizations create social impact through their actions, such as creating jobs, supporting local farmers, and supporting people from diverse backgrounds. However, one of the main challenges these organizations face is expanding in a sustainable manner. Recommendations for organizational leaders include ensuring that social impact increases as the business grows, carefully monitoring the quality of products or services, and identifying methods to reduce costs.
The Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities project increased understanding about the challenges and opportunities municipalities face when adapting to climate change. This work was supported by the Kresge Foundation and the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, which fosters sustainability through knowledge, learning, and leadership. Partners include natural resource managers, watershed councils, municipal governments, state and regional governments, and federal agencies. See: Series of case studies and fact sheets focusing on urban cities