New Gardens in Detroit Help Improve Water Quality

Friday, December 4, 2015

Updated May 11, 2016

About the Project

Vacant properties in Detroit, and other cities, can become green infrastructure, enhancing neighborhood quality of life, and improving water quality. On the former sites of vacant homes, University of Michigan researchers and their partners built innovative bioretention gardens to help manage stormwater while removing neighborhood blight in Detroit. 

Before installing the gardens, researchers surveyed 163 households near the garden sites. Neighbors rated lots with the proposed garden designs as appearing more attractive, neater, better cared for, and safer than lots without bioretention gardens. Residents strongly preferred to have bioretention gardens on vacant lots in their neighborhood.

Before

The bioretention flower gardens provide an attractive use for vacant lots. This demolition site in Detroit’s Cody Rouge neighborhood now houses one of the project’s four pilot gardens .  Photo: Nassauer Landscape Ecology, Perception and Design Lab, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. Click to enlarge.

After

The gardens soak up and store water from the street to help reduce overflows during large storms. This artist’s rendering depicts the garden on the site in the above image, as it is expected to look in full bloom.Image: Qiuling Chen, Nassauer Landscape Ecology, Perception and Design Lab, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. Click to enlarge.

 

Upcoming Event

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 10AM: U-M researchers and their project partners, community leaders, neighborhood residents and local students will gather to celebrate the transformation of vacant lots into four "bioretention gardens" designed to capture and soak up stormwater while beautifying Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

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