Green Alley - Design Studio

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Sustainable Alley Design Considerations

The alley is alive...it is a living system. All great design starts from here and joins with this life, respects it and unfolds with it.

There is an important need to first consider the way the space interacts with the the earths most powerful natural systems - the water, sun, wind and land and our living relatives.

Water

Goals

  • reduce the rapid runoff by returning water to the natural water cycles (out of the human water cycles.)
  • have the water be cleaner leaving the alley than when it entered
    • Prevent toxins and oil runoff
    • Garbage
  • support natural water storage by reducing the amount of pavement and bare soil
  • snow removal?

Actions

  • Use pervious/permeable pavements that let the water return to the natural water table.
  • Harvest the water from the building's runoff
  • Use native plants that have roots that clean the water
  • Encourage the growth of microbes that can actually clean the water.

Observations

  • We went and observed the alley during a nice rain storm on July 12, 2008. Here is how water made its way to the drains and large ponding areas. We took a video of the whole alley during the rain...watch it here.
Alley Natural Rainwater Flow on July 12, 2008

Drain at west end of alley
Ponding in center of the alley


Resources

Detroit Average Monthly Precipitation (includes snowfall)

JAN 	FEB 	MAR 	APR 	MAY 	JUN 	JUL 	AUG 	SEP 	OCT 	NOV 	DEC
1.91" 	1.88" 	2.52" 	3.05" 	3.05" 	3.55" 	3.16" 	3.10" 	3.27" 	2.23" 	2.66" 	2.51"
TOTAL 32.89"

Actual 2007 Detroit Monthly Precipitation

JAN 	FEB 	MAR 	APR 	MAY 	JUN 	JUL 	AUG 	SEP 	OCT 	NOV 	DEC
3.02" 	0.82" 	3.09" 	2.68" 	2.56" 	3.10" 	2.10" 	6.61" 	1.44" 	2.00" 	1.77" 	3.48"
TOTAL 32.67"

Actual 2006 Detroit Monthly Precipitation

JAN 	FEB 	MAR 	APR 	MAY 	JUN 	JUL 	AUG 	SEP 	OCT 	NOV 	DEC
3.24" 	2.71" 	3.21" 	2.71" 	4.6" 	3.95" 	4.38" 	2.05" 	1.73" 	4.11" 	2.9" 	3.65"
TOTAL 39.24

Actual 2005 Detroit Monthly Precipitation

JAN 	FEB 	MAR 	APR 	MAY 	JUN 	JUL 	AUG 	SEP 	OCT 	NOV 	DEC
3.40" 	3.02" 	0.74"	1.66" 	1.85" 	1.95" 	5.38" 	1.33"	1.63" 	0.13" 	4.70" 	2.52" 	
TOTAL 33.58"

Actual 2004 Detroit Monthly Precipitation

JAN 	FEB 	MAR 	APR 	MAY 	JUN 	JUL 	AUG 	SEP 	OCT 	NOV 	DEC
1.43" 	0.63" 	3.29"	0.69" 	8.46" 	2.86" 	2.85" 	4.52" 	0.65" 	2.08" 	3.21" 	2.91" 	
TOTAL 28.31"

Detroit Average Monthly Snowfall

JAN 	FEB 	MAR 	APR 	MAY 	JUN 	JUL 	AUG 	SEP 	OCT 	NOV 	DEC
11.9" 	9.3" 	7.0" 	1.7" 	Trace 	0" 	0" 	0" 	0" 	0.3" 	2.7" 	11.1"


NOAA's National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office

Sun

Goals

  • Eliminate "heat island" effect that affects our climate and the habitat

Actions

  • Green screen using native plants on the south sides of buildings
  • Use ground covers (natural and man made) that process the sun energy efficiently and reduce the heat build up.
  • Use trees for shade canopy...especially on the south and west sides
  • Lighter pavement color can reduce the surface temperatures by 20 - 40 degrees and air temperatures by 2 - 4 degrees.

Observations

  • July 29, 2008 @ 9 AM pictures of the sun
Alley looking east
Center of Alley
Alley looking west


  • July 24, 2008 @ noon pictures of the sun
  • The sun pattern is affected by the height of the buildings on the south side. This is why the center of the alley (near the MCBW) is much brighter during the day.
  • A video of sun patterns on the alley
Alley looking east
Alley looking west



  • August 4, 2008 @ 3 PM pictures of the sun
Alley looking east
Center of Alley
Alley looking west


Wind/Air

Goals

  • Encourage healthy air movement...prevent wind tunnels


Actions

  • Keep an "east-west" air pathway open
  • Add natural uneven surfaces

Observations

  • The alley runs east-west and has a nice breeze most of the time.
Major wind channels in the alley


Land and Our Relatives

A winged visitor

Goal

  • Reduce our waste stored in the alley and sent to incinerator
  • Allow the land to breathe
  • Give a bird, a bee, a butterfly and a worm a reason to visit the alley ... allow the essential interconnectedness of life to return
  • Reduce night light pollution and noise pollution
  • Establish a natural canopy system of interdependence

Action

  • Study the plant life...the land is bring forth life against all odds (mostly human.)
  • Study the garbage and determine the source and consider changing to no-waste purchasing habits
  • Establish a neighborhood composting center with education (lasagna garden)
  • Establish a neighborhood recycling center
  • Establish food gardens
  • Leave some of the land unpaved

Observations

  • Helen was visited by a butterfly when she walked down the alley
  • How do we meet the other human needs for the space so the space fits in the natural world and creates a life giving system for the community.
  • When I spent a day in the green garage there are many birds singing in the area. With some nesting areas they could really change the sound of the alley.
  • There are some flowers in the alley... day lilies/ No native flowers that would attract and support the insects.
  • John L. observed that there is an increase in rats in the area because several nearby abandoned buildings were torn down.

Other Human Needs

Goals

  • Builds community wellbeing...strengthens relationships with all members of the community
  • safety.... safe lighting at night, walking surface
  • accessibility...all can traverse the space safely - barrier free
  • eliminate noise pollution
  • create a sense of an inviting community space

Action

  • Use a "community-based" design approach to get input from all
  • meet proper night lighting requirements
  • Winter snow removal needs


Second, how do we reduce our impact on the eco-system?

Energy Footprint

Goal

  • Reduce the energy required to build, maintain and operate the alley and its environs


Actions

  • reuse materials...concrete, pavers
  • use natural building techniques
  • reduce the need for artificial lighting
  • use LED street lights...
  • reduce need for maintenance.
  • use local suppliers of materials
  • Support the 'enlightened" Transportation Pyramid

Observations

  • Pedestrians and bicyclist exit the Blackstone onto the alley.
    Sustainable 21st Century Transportation Pyramid


No Waste

Goal

  • No materials leave the site
  • Reuse and recycle materials
  • reduce waste of new materials

Actions

  • Reuse the concrete that is removed as crushed aggregate
  • Soil?
  • create build dimensions for new materials that reduce cutting + waste


Utilities

  • Lighting - City of Detroit?
  • Electrical - DTE
  • Water - DPS
  • Telephone -
  • Storm Sewer - DPS



Benefit Ideas

  • "In making the case for porous pavement, Bruce Ferguson provides compelling statistics on the severity of the problem of impervious surface in urban areas. In typical commercial development, for example, the overall impervious area averages 85%, with two-thirds of that from pavement and one-third from roofs. Porous pavement, where it can be implemented, provides such benefits as cleaner surface water (by allowing stormwater to be treated where it infiltrates the ground instead of carrying pollutants into surface waters), cooler cities, quieter cities, safer driving, and better tree survival rates. Porous Pavements clearly articulates these benefits and others. "

Design Studio

This is the area that the design concepts for the alley can be worked out.

Overall Concept

  • Dan has a vision of a Cass Farms - Block 99 community. It would bounded by Cass - Prentis - Canfield and Second Ave. It is a powerful vision for imagining what is possible if we worked together.
  • Zac created a wonderful "green" vision for the block in this sketch below.

S Green Block Vision.jpg


Potential Traffic Pattern/Use

Potential Traffic Flow Pattern and Restrictions


  • This idea has a pedestrian only area from Second Ave to the east end of the Motor City Brewing Works. This would allow this entire area to be safe with historic brick pathways through lush greenery. It is similar to the Community Greens or Courtyards in the examples of other city's above.
  • The abutting property owners would own to the center of the road and be able to landscape in ways that improve the attractiveness of their properties. The large planting areas then would allow the area to control and contain its own water. The costs would be much less than the vehicle paving would be. Each owner could think of there needs. This is allowed with a 2/3's vote of the abutting property owners.

Alley Surface

Green Alley - Overall Plan View
Green Alley Detail - Plan View
Green Alley Detail - Elevation View


Typical Cross Section Design

IPCI Designers Guide (see link below)
IPCI Cross Section Standard Detail
Morton Arboretum


Green Alley Cross Section

Green Alley - Paver Cross Section Detail

Details for Cross Section Drawings

1. Existing Pavement (Typically Concrete)

2. Top Soil

3. Permeable Pavers (3.5" depth) (e.g. Turf-slab)

4. Crushed Stone Bedding (3.5")

5. Crushed Natural Stone open-grade base course

6. Natural Stone open-grade sub-base course

7. Paver Brick (3.5" depth)

8. Concrete (6")

9. Crushed Stone Bedding (1")

10. Geo-tex fabric - low permeability

11. Geo-fabric B - high permeability (Mike it goes up on the ends to the metal

12. 18" Metal Retainer edging

Water Retention and Drainage

  • Determine how much rain falls in our area and what the storm water drainage requirements are for Detroit
    • 10 Year Daily = approx 3.5" of rain per day in Detroit.
    • 25 Year Daily = approx 3.9" of rain per day in Detroit (see USDA reference doc here)
    • 100 Year Daily = approx 4.9" of rain per day in Detroit. (see USDA reference doc here)
    • 100 Year Hourly = 2.57" of rain per hour in Detroit. MDOT Rainfall Tables/ Michigan Plumbing Code = 2.75)
  • Retention and Drainage Calculations

Construction Guidelines

  • Construction Checklist
    • No compaction of soil subgrade – excavate and trim native soil
    • Geotextile, drainage pipes and overflow vary with design
    • Ensure no sediment and mud on aggregates from equipment
    • Install and compact aggregate subbase and base with typical paving equipment
    • Specialty equipment used for screeding bedding layer and for mechanical paver installation
    • Mechanical installation equipment accelerates construction; typical 5,000 sf (500 m2)/machine/day
    • Concrete pavers, non-frozen bedding, and base/subbase installable in freezing temperatures over non-frozen soil subgrade
    • Paver joints filled with open-graded aggregate and compacted
    • No curing time – ready to use upon installation; modular construction allows for project phasing
    • Specify ICPI certified installers with PICP construction experience, inspection and detailing skills.
  • IPCI Permeable Paver Construction Guidelines


Native Plants

Butterfly Weed

Ideas

  • Right Plant - Right Place: sun exposure, moisture, scale, season, wildlife habitat role
  • Increase the bio-diverity...the greater the number of species the greater the sustainability.
  • We are restoring the habitat...and ourselves.
  • Possible Native Plants (for others look in Native Plant Nursery and Michigan Native Plant List:
    • Wild flowers: Cone flowers, coreopsis, black-eyed susan, bee balm, yarrow, little and big blue stem, golden alexanders, butterfly weed, asters
    • Rain Garden: Turtlehead, spiderwort, joe pye weed, common milkweed, swamp milkweed, golden rod, indian hemp, blue iris
    • Vine: Virginia Creeper, Virgin's Bower
    • Shrub: Serviceberry, redtwig dogwood, nannyberry, viburnum,
    • Small trees: Serviceberry, staghorn sumac, swamp birch, buttonwood

Bollards

  • maxiforce bollards
    • Talked to Ashley Phone: 410-552-9888
      • $100 - $200 for fixed bollard
      • $600 - $700 collapsible bollards
      • $60 to powder coat ... 180 colors
  • Cal-pipe
    • Talked to Sandy 877-283-8518 ...quote coming on Friday
    • Can work with us
  • Reliance Foundry Bollards
    • Talked to Ken and he said they do have locking, removable bollards. Look at their Instructions (pdf).
    • Can ship some immediately i.e. 7539.
    • Shipping costs would be about $150
    • They are in BC, Canada
    • R7591 Bollard prefer aluminum.