Mapping Motown

The two architects stand amid newly planted trees in a stormwater-infiltration forest at Detroit’s Latham Park.

Most of the low-vacancy areas are in historic districts or are along the outer edge of the city. The high-vacancy regions, on the other hand, are often close to current environmental hazards or contaminated land and closed schools. But, in many cases, they are also close to some of the city’s best assets. The Detroit Works framework suggests ways to maximize land-use and assets in each of the zones, strengthening already stable neighborhoods and making productive use of vacant land. Suggestions range from boosting community patrols as a crime-fighting tactic to zoning recommendations; from creating surface lakes that capture stormwater in high-vacancy areas to creating forested buffers around industrial zones. The buffers would serve as visual and sound barriers and would help lessen the impact of pollutants on adjacent neighborhoods.

Detroit Works includes a comprehensive assessment of vacancy rates throughout the city and charted the number of residents and their median household income in each of the three categories, as well as the percentage of city land in each catgeory.

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