Detroit plans massive effort to convert vacant properties to green spaces

Effort aims to improve property values, city life.

December 13, 2015 |
Detroit plans massive effort to convert vacant properties to green spaces

Vacant lot in Detroit. Photo: Stephen Harlan/Creative Commons.

The City of Detroit, along with nonprofit organization Greening of Detroit, will plant tens of thousands of trees in two, quarter-square-mile vacant city spaces to demonstrate how greening strategies can improve life in the city.

The city’s goals for the program include creating jobs for city residents as landscape workers, reducing air pollution, and minimizing stormwater and snowmelt runoff. Vacant lots will either be planted with trees or given some other green features, such as rainwater gardens, flowers, or urban farms. 

City officials said they will decide what will be done with each space after getting buy-in from nearby residents. Philanthropic organizations will fund the initiative.

A city official says that the effort is expected to boost property values in the city. Detroit has an estimated 20-30 square miles of vacant space.

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