Southwest Detroit takes action on planning students brownfield assessment recommendations

Last spring to commemorate Earth Day, graduate students from the Urban and Regional Planning program worked with Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV) and other community-based organizations to consolidate several brownfield maps with recent soil tests into one map and visited each site to assess whether fencing secures the property and search for signs of informal use. Based on the students’ recommendations made last spring, SDEV posted 44 signs around the brownfields and removed debris from several of the sites based on the field study reports and photographs submitted.

Children often play in brownfields, vacant industrial or commercial sites contaminated by concentrations of hazardous waste in the soils, which are not safe or authorized non-commercial activity.

The brownfield areas, which may have fences around them designed to keep area residents out, are inviting large vacant lots where Southwest Detroit children play sports and congregate. Repaired fencing, updated signage, or signage posted in Spanish for area residents will be some of the recommendations prioritized for these areas.

Until the areas are completely remediated and made safe for play, the safety measures recommended and updated by the urban planners is the next best step.

Faculty advisor on the project, Taubman College’s associate professor of urban and regional planning and project advisor, Larissa Larsen, views the project as a means for students to leverage their expertise for environmental and community gain.

To view the full report made by the students, click here.

Students involved in the project included:

Core Volunteers:

  • Andrew Broderick
  • Koben Calhoun
  • Amanda Irvine
  • Hans Fruechtenicht
  • Professor Larissa Larsen
  • Kevin McCoy
  • Katharine Pan
  • Bre Shell
  • Tracy Tran

Field Investigation Day Volunteers:

  • Professor Maria Arquero de Alarcon
  • Kristin Baja
  • Maeva Barbosa
  • Chelsea Burket
  • Chris Canna
  • Nick Cilluffo
  • John Drain
  • Liz Durfee
  • Jared Enriquez
  • Angela Fortino
  • Joel Howari Heeres
  • Jamie Kidwell
  • Clair Leighton
  • Nicole Mangis
  • Ryan Michael
  • Spencer Olinek
  • Scott Parker
  • Julia Roberts
  • Jonathan Tarr