Urban planning students’ work on vacant land in Flint, Detroit featured on TV, UM’s news show

A 100-page report Master of Urban Planning students wrote about vacant land in Flint for their winter 2009 class’ client, the Genesee County Land Bank, has attracted the attention of the Flint Journal and now UM’s news show.

Students Nathan Geisler, Shana Greenstein, Chuang-Chung Hu, Cisco Minthorn and Melissa Munsell wrote the report during UP 634 Integrated Field Experience. It suggests the land bank should purchase targeted vacant land in Flint for conversion into other uses such as farms, rather than wait for it to fall into foreclosure. Empty lots in near-empty neighborhoods are abundant in the city, which has seen its population decline dramatically.

The Flint Journal wrote about the group’s findings extensively in a three-part news series and editorial encouraging citizens to get involved in their community by organizing and participating in park cleanup days and other activities. This press sparked the initial interest in UM’s news show “Out of the Blue” to cover this very high-profile, political and important topic. “Out of the Blue: The Michigan Difference” is a program that features university research and initiatives.

The show includes interviews with winter 2009 team members in Flint and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning Professor Margi Dewar and Lecturer Eric Dueweke. It also features current UP 634 students working on a similar project in Detroit. The episode originally aired on the Big Ten Network and is now available online here.

A previous “Out of the Blue” segment featured Larissa Larsen’s course work on sustainable food. It can be viewed here.

The Flint Journal articles can be found here:

To read the report: