ENGINEERED NATURE: “The world is round, but Detroit is extremely flat,” said Palencia Mobley, chief engineer, when explaining the approach to Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Note to Reader:

In April 2019, published an article by Erica Gies that elaborates on why Detroit is joining a growing movement worldwide to reclaim space for water in cities and implement what is known as green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) to either absorb water where it falls or to direct it in a more controlled way to treatment plants, which today can get overwhelmed by more rushing water than they are capable of handling.

Volunteers and project partners celebrate the completion of four bioretention gardens on vacant Detroit lots. (Photo by Dave Brenner) (Source:

As Floods Increase, Cities Like Detroit are Looking to Green Stormwater Infrastructure

“Detroit’s narrative over the past few decades has been grim and oft-told: auto industry abandonment, depopulation and blighted neighborhoods. But these changes have also made space for new opportunities,” wrote Erica Gies.

“The changes Detroit has experienced in recent decades have left the city with a lot of abandoned land, which makes it comparatively easy to make space for GSI. In fact, Detroit’s GSI program is following the lead of Philadelphia’s Green City Clean Waters, a project that began in 2011.

“But in Detroit, simply making a park where there was once a building is often not enough to prevent flooding due to its topography and geology.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete story, download a copy of As Floods Increase, Cities Like Detroit are Looking to Green Stormwater Infrastructure.

After that, read about the Shared Green Stormwater Infrastructure Study, an initiative of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center in  response to Detroit’s Drainage Charge Credit Program.

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