Back to Detroit - here is a Blueprint for Detroit’s Future. In my work, I’ve looked at the problem of financing services and infrastructure in a city with a declining population. It’s very challenging and the math doesn’t seem to add up. One thing that caught my eye is how they talk about landscape and green infrastructure:
In the spirit of innovation that has made the city great, Detroit will lead the world in developing landscape as 21st century infrastructure to transform vacant land areas into community assets that remediate contaminated land, to improve human health and elevate adjacent land values—all without residential displacement… The iconic boulevards and freeway corridors of the city can be transformed to reinforce a new civic identity through the creation of linear carbon forests that clean air, and stormwater management landscapes that collect, treat and recycle water…
Much of Detroit’s 19th and 20th infrastructure is nearing the end of its productive life. Although replacing and maintaining conventional infrastructure will remain important to Detroit’s future, landscapes can also function in similar ways, yet are less expensive to construct and maintain than conventional systems. Landscape can be adapted to serve stormwater/wastewater, energy, roads/transportation, and waste infrastructure systems.
Blue infrastructures are water-based landscapes like retention ponds, and lakes that capture and clean stormwater, reducing the quantity and improving the quality of water that enters the combined stormwater/sewage system.
Green infrastructures are forest landscapes that improve air quality by capturing air-borne pollutants from industry, vehicular exhaust along interstates, and infrastructure facilities like the Detroit Recovery Facility, which incinerates household waste. Green infrastructure also includes greenways, paths, and dedicated lanes for bicycling, walking, and running.
Landscape infrastructure can act as multiple kinds of infrastructure at once. For example, a combination blue (water) and green (plants and trees) corridor might capture stormwater along drainage swales alongside a major road, while integrating a greenway for bicycling and walking—to support connections among home, work, and services.