Graham Sustainability Institute

Neighborhood, Environment & Water Research Collaborations for Green Infrastructure Advisory Brief

April 2016

Joan Nassauer, Margaret Dewar, Shawn McElmurry, Natalie Sampson, Alicia Alvarez, Allen Burton, Catherine Riseng, Amy Schulz, Noah Webster, & Nathaniel Lichten.

Report topic:
An introduction to the NEW-GI project with preliminary results of a 2015 pre-construction survey of residents living nearby vacant property selected as pilot sites for NEW-GI stormwater bioretention gardens.

NEW-GI (Neighborhood, Environment, and Water research collaborations for Green Infrastructure) is a transdisciplinary research project that integrates water quality, community well-being, governance, and design research in legacy cities. Through community, government, and academic collaboration, it produces evidence-based guidance for sustainably managing stormwater in ways that enhance Detroit landscapes and the lives of its residents.

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.

This brief describes NEW-GI’s goals and early outcomes, including preliminary results from the 2015 survey of residents living within 800 feet of vacant property selected as pilot sites.

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