Graham Sustainability Institute

Transforming Vacant Land to Manage Storm Water and Benefit Neighborhoods

December 2015

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.