Throughout the summer and into this fall, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is hosting visioning sessions in the region’s seven counties as part of its Green Infrastructure Vision. The sessions are intended to gather input from stakeholders on existing green or natural areas and to envision the types and locations for future green infrastructure opportunities. For example, some ideas discussed at previous sessions include adding parks, protecting existing environmental assets, and adding buffer zones and trails along riparian areas.

The Green Infrastructure Vision began in 2011 as a way to harness efforts already under way in many Southeast Michigan cities and counties in order to develop a holistic, coordinated plan for the region. The vision will tie together elements from parks to agricultural land to urban forests to vacant lots. It also builds on SEMCOG’s previous low impact development education efforts, including the development of the Low Impact Development Manual for Michigan in 2008 and a case study database.

The population of Southeast Michigan is contracting, so the plan focuses not only on improving environmental quality but also economic opportunity and social equity. A task force of more than 60 people representing local governments, state and federal agencies, universities, utility companies, and nonprofit agencies are working on the Green Infrastructure Vision. Read more about the vision.