An article published by the The Detroit News on May 19 describes how a coalition of researchers and city officials transformed several vacant lots from demolished homes into rain gardens to help control stormwater. The article, “Sites of demolished Detroit homes used to soak up water,” explains how the project started.

The project includes representatives from the Land Bank Authority, the University of Michigan, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and community groups. Empty basements left behind from demolishing blighted homes provided an opportunity to collect and retain stormwater.

To date, four vacant lots have been converted into pilot rain gardens. The hope is to learn from these four pilots and expand the program to hundreds of sites, according to Joan Nassauer professor of landscape architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.

See how these pilot projects came together here: