Neighborhood, environment, and water research collaborations for green infrastructure - NEW-GI

Click to view the    Flyer for the 2016 White Paper   . For a complete copy of the 2016 White Paper, email:

Click to view the Flyer for the 2016 White Paper. For a complete copy of the 2016 White Paper, email:

NEIGHBORHOOD, ENVIRONMENT AND WATER research collaborations for Green Infrastructure (NEW-GI) links Detroit’s vacant property demolition process with new forms of green infrastructure (GI) designed for both ecological and social benefits. It uses a transdisciplinary design-in-science approach, bringing researchers and practitioners together to develop GI designs to manage stormwater and increase resident well-being where vacant property is changing neighborhoods. By assessing design performance, NEW-GI aims to contribute to future strategies for successful GI in Detroit.

PHASE ONE (2014-2015): In NEW-GI’s first phase, project collaborators developed bioretention flower garden designs and constructed four pilot sites on vacant lots in the Warrendale neighborhood of the Cody Rouge area on Detroit’s west side. We conducted an initial survey of 163 nearby neighborhood residents to understand residents’ perceptions of the designs and of their neighborhood. We also studied aspects of governance in Detroit and Cleveland that affect the implementation and maintenance of GI on vacant property.

PHASE TWO (2016-2019): In NEW-GI’s second phase, we provide guidance to inform GI development throughout Detroit. We assess how residents perceive the pilot gardens, their impacts on residents’ well-being, impacts on the quantity and quality of water entering the sewer system, and the ways in which existing governance systems shape GI installation and maintenance. Drawing on our analyses and on key findings in scholarly literature, we will produce guidance documents for local decision-makers and other GI stakeholders.



Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
Detroit Land Bank Authority
Detroit Department of Planning and Development
Detroit Department of Housing and Revitalization
Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance
Warrendale Community Organization


Joan Nassauer (University of Michigan, Natural Resources and Environment)
Alicia Alvarez (University of Michigan, Law)
Allen Burton and Catherine Riseng (University of Michigan, Natural Resources and Environment)
Margaret Dewar (University of Michigan, Urban Planning)
Shawn McElmurry (Wayne State, Engineering)
Natalie Sampson (U-M Dearborn, Health and Human Services)
Amy Schulz (University of Michigan, Public Health)
Noah Webster (Institute for Social Research)

The University of Michigan Water Center supports NEW-GI with a grant from the Erb Family Foundation.