Like many post-industrial cities, Detroit has an outdated and overburdened combined sewer system. In a combined sewer system, heavy rains overwhelm the city’s water treatment system, resulting in increased flooding and discharges of both sewage and stormwater into local rivers. In order to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO), stormwater must enter the sewer system at a slower and steadier pace without high peaks caused by heavy rain events. In addition, Detroit has vast amounts of impervious surface, much of which is abandoned or underused, further contributing to stormwater runoff concerns.
Our project, in collaboration with Michigan Community Resources (MCR) and Eastside Community Network (ECN), explores whether a collective, place-based approach to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) installations can result in joint stormwater credits towards fees in residential neighborhoods.
Soy production has led to deforestation in multiple regions of Brazil, including the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. A combination of laws, such as the Forest Code (1965), and voluntary agreements, such as the Soy Moratorium (2006), have been implemented to slow the rate of deforestation due to soy production in the Amazon. Although the overall deforestation rate has declined in Brazil from 2004 to 2013, it has increased along the BR-163 highway, also known as the “Soy Corridor.”
Keywords: agro-industrialization, soy, deforestation, Brazil, Mato Grosso and Para region, rainforest
Urban, poverty-stricken, and disinvested communities are struggling to reliably and affordably secure the energy services they need. At the same time, the moral and economic case for distributed renewable energy technologies promises transformative change for how electricity is created and consumed. Soulardarity, a grassroots community organization centered in Highland Park, Michigan, is working to make this vision of energy democracy a reality. The Dow Sustainability Fellowship team partnered with Soulardarity to assess the feasibility of installing a community-owned and operated solar project in Highland Park.
Keywords: Solar energy, community, community power purchase agreement, solar co-op
Our Dow Sustainability Fellowship Program team (the Dow team) partnered with the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) to investigate drinking water quality and affordability issues at the community level to better inform statewide efforts to empower citizens and address water access concerns. The locality of focus, Benton Harbor, Michigan, shares similarities to Flint, Michigan – a city thrust into the spotlight when lead contamination was discovered in its drinking water. Benton Harbor, like Flint, has experienced an economic depression, a strained city governance, and aging infrastructure.
Keywords: water, infrastructure, Michigan Environmental Council, City Planning
Fellow Mary Jones and Lanfei Liu from the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability share the team’s idea for a communication tool for the government and residents of Washtenaw County, MI to provide affordable housing recommendations for all income brackets.
The project team includes other fellows from U-M School of Public Health, School for Environment and Sustainability, U-M School of Information, U-M School of Social Work and U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, fellowships, housing
Fellow Kenneth J. Fennell Jr. from the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy shares the team’s idea to increase accessibility to shared use mobile technologies for high risk, low-income communities in Detroit, MI by enacting Caravan, a social platform tool allowing users to find and access transportation.
The project team includes other fellows from Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, U-M School for Environment and Sustainability and U-M School of Social Work.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, fellowships, Detroit, transportation
Fellow Harry Wolberg from the U-M Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy shares the team’s idea for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and organic waste at U-M through a biodigester, a facility that captures the methane gas from decomposing waste to be used to generate renewable energy.
The project team includes other fellows from the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, U-M Law School and U-M Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, fellowships, waste reduction.
This article about the Crow House project highlights the effort to address both the need for energy efficient housing and access to healthy food. A University of Michigan (U-M) team of graduate students interested in urban socioecology developed the Crow House project. Inspired in part by the settlement house tradition popular at the turn of the 20th century, students began implementing a plan that focused on creating common ground for community and college collaboration among local activists, agencies, and scholars living in neighborhoods. Also, see the project summary.
Keywords: Dow Sustainability Fellowship Program, University of Michigan, Detroit
Black soldier flies are an innocuous insect with the ability to consume twice their weight in a day during the larval stage, thus transforming large quantities of most organic material like food waste, into fat and protein. This fact has caught the attention of scientists, farmers, and composters all looking for a better way to both feed an increasing population and recycle the growing amount of organic waste produced by that population. With a $5,000 seed grant from the Dow Distinguished Awards competition, a U-M student team conducted a study to determine the demand for a black soldier fly feed production facility, and how this might contribute to an emerging agriculture and waste management industry. Keywords: Black soldier flies, Kulisha, food waste, waste management, agriculture, animal feed
Southwest Detroit is a community with many needs, including access to affordable housing and healthy food. For Detroiters living in an older home, this means paying high utility bills, unless you can find a house renovated to be energy efficient. To address both the need for energy efficient housing and access to healthy food, a University of Michigan team of graduate students interested in urban socioecology developed the Crow House project. Inspired in part by the settlement house tradition popular at the turn of the 20th century, students began implementing a plan that focused on creating common ground for community and college collaboration among local activists, agencies, and scholars living in neighborhoods. Keywords: Affordable Housing, Detroit, Community Gardening, Energy Efficiency