U-M researchers build innovative gardens to help manage stormwater in Detroit neighborhood

On the former sites of vacant Detroit homes, U-M researchers and their partners have built innovative gardens that help manage stormwater while removing neighborhood blight.

The four new “bioretention gardens” capture and hold stormwater in a subsurface layer of gravel while beautifying the Cody Rouge area on Detroit’s west side.

Led by Joan Nassauer, U-M professor of landscape architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and Assistant Professor Natalie Sampson of the Department of Health and Human Services at UM-Dearborn, the pilot project shows how vacant properties can become green infrastructure that enhances neighborhood quality of life while improving water quality in the Detroit River and the Great Lakes.

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