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MUP Detroit Capstone Projects support successful applications for Kresge Foundation Grants

Monday, April 17, 2017

MUP Detroit Capstone Projects support successful applications for KRESGE FOUNDATION GRANTS

Two Detroit community non-profit organizations received Kresge Foundation grants that build on work completed by Taubman College’s Master of Urban Planning Capstone projects on April 17, 2017. Each graduating urban planning master's degree student must complete a capstone where a student team prepares a plan to advance a community partner’s agenda, often to strengthen a neighborhood.

“The purpose of the capstone work is for our students to understand the real needs of a place and community partner organization, providing valuable insights and recommendations for the client,” said Margi Dewar, professor of urban and regional planning. “The ideal scenario is when the work enables the organizations to secure funding and move the projects to the next steps at the same time that the students become professional planners in the process of developing the plan. That’s when we’ve really done our jobs.”

Dewar was the faculty lead for the Kresge-funded capstone-related projects, aided by faculty member Libby Levy.

The Kresge grants that support the work of Taubman College Detroit-capstone community partners are:

  • LifeBUILDERS, Regent Park neighborhood
    • Capstone recommendation and Kresge-funded project: Seal abandoned buildings open to trespass, maintain vacant properties and beautify empty lots. This community stabilization, preservation and maintenance effort is intended to preserve dozens of properties as part of a neighborhood rehabilitation plan. (District 3). To read the full recommendations: https://taubmancollege.umich.edu/sites/default/files/files/The-Time-is%20Now-final.pdf
  • ​U-SNAP-BAC, MorningSide
    • Capstone recommendation and Kresge-funded project: Begin transformation of a largely vacant, half-mile stretch of Barham Street into an innovative public greenway and “farmway.” The blighted area that includes 68 publicly owned vacant parcels currently attracts dumping; U SNAP BAC envisions closing the area to vehicle traffic and opening it to small-scale agricultural enterprises that provide access to fresh food. (District 4). To read the full recommendations: http://taubmancollege.umich.edu/urbanplanning/students/student-work/master-urban-planning/stabilizing-morningside

In addition, capstone students worked in winter semester 2017 with another Kresge Foundation award winner on a plan that complements the partner’s project by providing a plan for strengthening the Chandler Park neighborhood and transforming open space into an asset across the Lower Eastside.

  • Eastside Community Network, Chandler Park neighborhood:
    • Kresge-funded project: Install a rain garden learning lab on vacant land across from Hamilton Academy, the neighborhood’s only public school. The lab will include rain gardens, other green infrastructure and an outdoor classroom for school-age children and for adults seeking master rain garden certification. (District 4). 

In total on April 17, Kresge Foundation awarded 17 Detroit nonprofits grants totaling $2 million for projects to revitalize neighborhoods across Detroit. Kresge’s support for the shovel-ready projects ranged from $75,000 to $150,000. The grants were chosen from nearly 70 applications, making for a highly competitive process.

For more about the grants received:

​http://kresge.org/news/2-million-kresge-supports-17-projects-neighborhoods-across-detroit​