Green infrastructure helps people to enjoy their neighborhoods by providing recreational opportunities and beautification.
GREENING CITIES Green infrastructure helps people to enjoy their neighborhoods by providing recreational opportunities and beautification. © Michael D-L Jordan/dlp

Stories in Michigan

Detroit Stormwater Hub

A one-stop resource for green stormwater infrastructure information in Detroit.

Across Detroit, community groups, local nonprofits and city planners are implementing or supporting the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure as a way to improve stormwater management. Green stormwater infrastructure—the installation of plants, trees and permeable surfaces to help capture and slow stormwater runoff—provides numerous benefits. It can reduce surface flooding and combined sewer overflows during heavy rain events, it adds greenspace, and it beautifies the neighborhood.

Yet, most of these projects have historically happened independant of one another. Who is tracking all of this activity and monitoring progress? 

Enter the Detroit Stormwater Hub: a website and interactive map that shares information about green stormwater infrastructure projects across Detroit, and houses a collection of community-informed resources covering green stormwater infrastructure topics from technical design to media coverage. Built by the Detroit community for the Detroit community, the Hub features real projects, local best practices, stories and resources.

The Detroit Stormwater Hub is comprised of two main elements:

1.      A map and database of green stormwater infrastructure projects in Detroit with locations, images and project information.

2.     A knowledgebase of relevant, local resources including green stormwater infrastructure best practices, stories, educational resources and tools designed to support this work in the city of Detroit.

The result of a unique collaboration between TNC, the City of Detroit and an advisory group of community-based organizations, nonprofits, local government and technical experts, this dynamic project and its partners are committed to making a significant impact on stormwater management by getting credible, local green stormwater infrastructure information into the hands of people that can use it. 

The Detroit Stormwater Hub enables and supports collective efforts to grow green stormwater infrastructure practices throughout the city of Detroit.

Innovative, Science-Based Tools

In addition to serving as a community resource, the Detroit Stormwater Hub also fills an important need for developing quantitative metrics and science-based tools around green stormwater infrastructure. A public submission form for the map enables the collection of information for installations that were not previously tracked, building a more comprehensive dataset for the city and partners.

This provides the opportunity to measure the collective impact of green stormwater infrastructure projects throughout the city – public and private, large and small. These metrics include the total volume of water managed through GSI installations, the total acreage of land being managed by these green practices, and the concentration of green stormwater infrastructure projects across Detroit. Collecting this data in a centralized hub makes it easier to track city-wide progress and provides important metrics for refining the design and installation of future projects.

A City-Wide Vision

In 2016, a clear need arose for a tool to help Detroit property owners and organizations to understand, collaborate on, and ultimately track the progress of green stormwater infrastructure efforts city-wide.

With the generous support of The Erb Family Foundation, TNC spearheaded the development of a city-wide knowledgebase to share resources and facilitate collaboration between the City of Detroit and the community it serves.

During the initial phase of this project, an advisory group of local organizations convened for a series of conversations about what was needed to build support and facilitate collaboration around green stormwater infrastructure in Detroit. Through the collaboration of that advisory group and the City of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the project grew into the Detroit Stormwater Hub – a collective effort to share green stormwater infrastructure information.

The Detroit Stormwater Hub launched in October of 2019.