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Tuesday, April 10 • 10:15am - 10:30am
SYMPOSIA-10: Urban Landscape Heterogeneity and Variation in Green Infrastructure on Vacant Lots

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AUTHORS: Yuanqiu Feng*, Joan I. Nassauer – School for Environment & Sustainability, University of Michigan

ABSTRACT: In urban landscapes with vacant property, green infrastructure (GI) designs should vary with the spatial distribution and quantities of vacant lots relative to their context in: grey infrastructure, land use, land cover, and geomorphology. GI designs also should vary to produce socio-environmental functions that are relevant and valuable to local communities. We argue that GI designs should respond to landscape heterogeneity, and we demonstrate that analysis of heterogeneous characteristics at a catchment scale is a foundation for sustainable GI. We question menu-driven GI design approaches, in which GI practices are selected and implemented without close reference to heterogeneous landscape characteristics. To recognize heterogeneity, we detail our design-in-science approach, which leverages knowledge of social and environmental processes to critically assess how GI designs may interact with specific local conditions and patterns. We demonstrate this approach in two catchments of approximately 700ac and 450ac, with contrasting characteristics in the Upper Rouge watershed in Detroit. One catchment lies in a highly vacant neighborhood, with large patches of vacant lots and substantial variation in topography and substrate characteristics. The other is in a geomorphologically uniform and comparatively intact neighborhood, with fewer vacant lots and a more evenly distributed vacancy pattern. These differences led us to design distinct GI strategies for each catchment – a single large and contiguous GI network in one and a system of several small distributed GI nodes in the other. We show how these differences allow the designs to operate as hypotheses about performance of socio-environmental functions, which can be tested as models or as built pilot projects in our larger transdisciplinary project with local government and NGO collaborators, Neighborhood Environment and Water research collaborations for Green Infrastructure (New-GI).

Tuesday April 10, 2018 10:15am - 10:30am
Hancock Parlor

Attendees (5)