Graham Sustainability Institute

Green Infrastructure on Vacant Land: Achieving Social and Environmental Benefits in Legacy Cities

February 2017

Nathaniel Lichten, Joan Iverson Nassauer, Margaret Dewar, Natalie R. Sampson, & Noah J. Webster.

Report topic:
An in-depth review of peer-reviewed literature relevant to implementation of GSI on vacant land and its potential effects on neighborhood well-being.

NEW-GI (Neighborhood, Environment, and Water research collaborations for Green Infrastructure) contributes to knowledge about green infrastructure in legacy cities by integrating research about water quality, community well-being, governance and ecological design. Involving community, government and academic collaborators, it produces evidence-based guidance for sustainably managing stormwater in ways that enhance landscapes and the lives of residents in Detroit and other legacy cities.

NEW-GI ecological designs link Detroit’s vacant property demolition process with new forms of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) that aim to manage stormwater as well as increase nearby residents’ well-being. This research uses a transdisciplinary design-in-science approach, in which researchers, practitioners and community members work together to contribute knowledge addressing social and ecological objectives. NEW-GI researchers assess the performance of different GSI designs and governance approaches. This assessment provides evidence for making decisions about how GSI can better achieve objectives.

As a basis for understanding potential effects of GSI on neighborhood well-being, and to support decisionmaking, this White Paper synthesizes relevant scholarly literature related to three key factors affecting GSI performance in legacy cities:

  1. How governance affects planning and implementation of GSI on vacant property.
  2. How GSI in neighborhoods may affect the well-being of residents.
  3. GSI maintenance and stewardship for long-term success.

See also:

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