Detroit’s Sustainable Park Strengthens Community Involvement

The city of Detroit is implementing a sustainable project for the good of its residents and community at large. It’s the first of its kind and will use alternative measures to place agriculture at the forefront of urban development. This creatively sustainable initiative will be located in the lower North End and will be sprawled out over three acres of land. The composition will be a two-acre garden which will yield over 300 varieties of fruits and veggies, a 200-tree orchard that will produce fruit, as well as a children’s sensory garden. The garden was created with the surrounding neighborhood in mind and offer fresh fruits and vegetables to over 2,000 local homeowners.

A 3,200 square-foot resource center will also offer educational programs, event and meeting space, and serve as the organization’s operational headquarters. Interestingly, the basement will be converted into a water harvesting cistern that will automatically irrigate the garden while preventing runoff into the Detroit sewer system. The centerpiece of the park’s redevelopment is the bio-retention garden designed to infiltrate water into the ground and keep it out of the combined sewer system during rainstorms. Overloaded sewers back up, flood roadways and basements and contribute to the pollution of waterways. The city has begun one of many positive strategies in an effort to take control of flooding issues. Green infrastructures, along with good practices, will systematically bring a healthier environment and lessen the capacity on an overloaded sewer system.  Additionally, by collecting water from the neighborhood storm sewer, the bio-retention area in the park should help reduce flooding by holding onto the water and channeling it into the ground below the park. This is accomplished with the assistance of deep-rooted plants that create channels for water into the soil.  Natural landscaping programs enable less maintenance and are more cost effective over time.


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