Sustainable Neighborhood Community Development

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The EcoSystem - There exists a current and balanced ecosystem which we are seeking to enter into in a way that respects what already exists!!!

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Genius at Work!
  • People Go south for the Winter
  • Community Maintenance
  • Share Work - Grow & Learn
  • Close to "places to walk to" access "amenities"
  • Mass transits, zip cars
  • Shared minibus system
  • Shared washer/dryer
  • Shared economy - bikes
  • Allow people to have short-term stays
  • Scale to fit the built environment ...part of existing neighborhoods
  • Intergenerational (a magic) ...Intentional
  • Global Detroit
  • Surprise Neighborhoods
  • Mobility
  • Infrastructure - hospital - onsite manager
  • Materials - reuse
  • Color Pallet
  • No debt access
  • Look for "connections" in the community
  • Think about "care" needed - could live there
  • Diversity "watch street at different times"
  • Community values "shared"
  • Narrowing audience - making it easier
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The Genius Continues
  • Rental Good idea (not a burden) Freedom - Investments are more uncertain ... Attractive
  • Option to buy - Coop
  • Walkable (in Demand)
  • Need for Safety
  • Gardens
  • 10-12 Cottages
  • Portable Market fresh foods / Farmers Market
  • Repurpose buildings
  • Duplex/Triplex
  • Common Kitchens/ Kitchens not used
  • Common Space - movie series - indoor gathering - outdoor
  • Lock-n-go Travel

Fresh Food (Eastern Market & Grocery)

  • 7 Fresh Food grocery stores in Midtown (a resource for surrounding areas)
  • Downtown Detroit - 3 Grocery Stores - new one coming Papa Joe's
  • New Center - ?
  • Farmer's Market - Wayne State
  • Eastern Market Saturday and Tuesday - cooking Demonstrations
  • Possible Grocery Delivery
  • Meijer @ 8mile
  • Community Gardens (at home or near community)
  • Seniors more frequent shoppers at lower volume
  • Need for full Service Grocery Store

Existing Neighborhood - streets & homes

  • Neighborhood Association
  • 85% is single family
  • 2011 Detroit 3rd largest in home ownership
  • New Center- Grand Blvd ring
  • single family home - experiences to look
  • I94 expansion will affect
  • Shipping Container - possible development
  • Woodbridge Cottages 1870s
  • Lafayette Park - Destroyed the existing community and replaced
  • History - (neighborhoods to be studied)
  • Large Rental Population


  • Access to Food - needs to be near the neighborhood
  • Cooking Demonstrations...Learning
  • 1020 Full Service Restaurants - in area
  • Using Fresh Local Food Local Focus - food and impact
  • Comfort Food
  • Vegan, food allergies - entrepreneurs
  • Food Trucks "Night"
  • Restaurant shared community space "kitchen"
  • Shared meals at Restaurant
  • Outdoor eating
  • Zip Code night


  • Stores in vacant spaces - churches
  • Proven/known store to establish traffic
  • Need to be an anchor
  • Vets, MD's, Shoe shope, bike shops....
  • Hardware Store
  • Dept Store
  • People go to suburbs on weekends "Target"
  • Uneven right now
  • Ferndale
  • Work/Living Combo
  • Edge of Midtown
  • Micro Pop up shopping


  • Great Variety
  • Hours of Sunshine by month: June 295hrs, July 321hrs, Nov 98hrs
  • Activities when dark
  • Design houses to maximize natural light
  • Get energy from Nature - Building, People
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Climate Change and extreme weather
  • Power Outages (generator)
  • Sun-light - Growing plants
  • Gardens - Growing
  • Greenhouses
  • Get Outside
  • Urban Farms

Land - Vacancy

  • Bundle small lots
  • City owned property available
  • Basements and environmental issues (with "vacant lots")
  • Infrastructure available - on vacant lots
  • Vacant near commercial buildings
  • Why don't we own this - website
  • Surface Parking
  • Highland Park area

Community - People/Events/Amenities/Parks

  • Green Space
  • Village to Village - Elders
  • Shared History
  • Health Benefits of Trees and Green Space
  • Community Events around meals/food
  • We create the events to pull the community together
  • Destination - due to unique design
  • Jazz night- season
  • Contrast vs Fit the Community Culture
  • Street width can lead to community (narrow for walking)
  • Legal Structure - condo assoc; coop; co-housing - cult?
  • Social Structure
  • Connected to outer community
  • Design is critical to promote community
  • How would you scale it? Do you think about it?
  • Is an intention important?
  • Diversity - Homogenity
  • Eastside


  • Health care - Community
  • Beaumont Mission in Neighborhood
  • Corktown: Like a pocket neighborhood (Not much healthcare)
  • Free Clinic
  • Healthy Food, Safe Streets
  • HFHS - Community Development "Pioneer"
  • Decline in volunteering of MD's
  • Rental assistance to employees


  • Anchor of Neighborhood
  • Charter School trend - challenges
  • Community invest in school
  • Community events
  • Know principal well
  • Engage volunteers
  • Colleges - resource for continued learning
  • Home schooling
  • Online Schooling
  • PAL - sports program
  • Can do projects together
  • Audit classes
  • Shared kitchens / play
  • Landscaping and garden help


  • Non-developers, communities, corporations
  • Pallister Park- Pedestrian only houses
  • Ipodments (small apartments) - community kitchens
  • 16-22 houses/acre
  • High share - ability
  • Zoning for small
  • Joy Shaefer - developed community - Four Lights - tiny houses
  • History
  • Intention? How do we do this?
  • Narrow focus
  • History
  • Pockets that did not work - friction among parties

Zoning Board - City Gov't - Codes - Council Districts

  • Tiny Houses - affecting change
  • Urban is Unique
  • Lessons from Boneyard in DC, NYC - used city land, San Fransico - Redid codes to allow for 250sf
  • Council by District representation
  • Use Growth as a reason for the project
  • Detroit Plan Development of own land
  • Karen Gage at Midtown Detroit Inc. (resource on zoning)

Money People - Foundations/Banks

  • Foundations building neighborhoods
  • BCBS trying ???
  • University - safety of WSU police
  • Community Reinvest Act - Banks
  • They are asking
  • Crowd funding - real estate deal, people place
  • Impact investing
  • Private Business
  • Gov't Programs
  • Large employers w/ Foundations/ w/ Developers = where do they intersect - sweet spot
  • Morgan Stanley Smith and Barney - Leader in Community involvement

Transportation - Transit/Bus/Parking

  • Zip Cars ; Uber Cabs *new* car-less
  • M1 rail
  • Green Space
  • Ann Arbor Connector
  • Bus System - Regional Transit Authority; SMART Bus; BRT; DDOT
  • Biking - Racks
  • Walking
  • Parking? Carports
  • Density

Infrastructure - Elec/Gas/Water/Sewer/Trash/Internet

  • Water - Lowest rates in country; Large Quantity; Co-mingled
  • Power - 3 blackouts
  • Detroit Power and Lighting
  • Aging Infrastructure - instability
  • Internet - broadband access; sharing "commotion software"
  • Snow Removal
  • City can't agree on shared infrastructure
  • Power Struggle
  • Digital Standards
  • Net Zero Energy Community


  • Closings-merging
  • Churches vacant
  • Trending toward smaller churches "many sites"
  • Anchor of neighborhoods
  • Breakdown of neighborhood as churches become commuter churches
  • Transportation to church
  • Young people are moving in
  • People not going to church
  • Many church buildings
  • Churches are developing community


Pocket Neighborhoods

What is it?

This is a break:

This is a line:


  • Systems are difficult to work with- to implement new solutions for vacant land
  • Environmental
  • Bank financing -appraisal values vs loan value
  • Schools - young people
  • Safety Factor
  • Limited Mass Transit

Seed Small Design Session

Creating sustainable neighborhoods where people enjoy healthy living.

Key Definitions

Health -The state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or infirmity - World Health Organization

Community Psychology -a sub-discipline of psychology that is concerned with understanding people in the context of their communities, the prevention of problems in living, the celebration of human diversity and the pursuit of social justice through social action.

Ecological in nature - the fit between people and their environment.

Research and Reports

  • World Health Organization:

Good Health Adds Years To Life

Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health

Current State of Health

Physical Activity & Health

Physical Activity Guidelines

Children 6yr to 17yr -Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day

2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week

Adults 65 years and older w/o limitations - 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and more!



Healthy Food

Relationships and Health

Beauty and Health



  • "The garden is a miniature, a slice of nature compressed in space and a pattern of information compressed in time." Dr Rachel Kaplan University of Michigan

Lighting and Health

Detroit's State of Health


  • Epidemiology of Asthma in Michigan Report
  • Detroit is the Epicenter of Asthma for the State of Michigan
  • Incidence of Asthma among adults in Detroit
  • Rates of asthma hospitalizations is 3 times higher in Detroit compared to Michigan as a whole
  • Rates of asthma death 2 times higher in Detroit as to Michigan as a whole

Elevated Lead Levels


A Healthy Lifestyle Seed (some thinking around)

Who We Are

  • We are developers of sustainable communities that support healthy lifestyles.
  • Where the easy choice is the healthy choice.

What We Believe

  • We believe - it is simple
    • a healthy lifestyle includes...
      • Good Food..access to fresh food.
      • Walking...verses driving can help to improve health.
      • Healthy home ... air quality, daylight, aesthetic beauty
      • Supportive community...relationships matter
      • Connect (sharing and contributing) to the broader community -take care of each other
    • collectively these have an impact on our holistic health and well-being.

  • Further we believe ....
    • healthy lifestyles are more sustainable when they are supported by communities and spaces (places) that support them.
      • (how we design spaces does matter ... it can make healthy lifestyles more likely.)
    • the kind of future Detroit will offer it's citizens will largely be determined by our support for healthy lifestyles... it's critical determinate of Detroit's future....our future. Detroit has space and water - two components that can be transformed to support healthy living.

Support for Our Beliefs

Our Own Experience

We believe these things because we have experienced them.

Independent Sources

Our experience has been borne out by other's research and study. (Studies have shown that what we feel intuitively is true.)

General Findings
Specific Findings
  • In the most popular book on architecture ever written, Christopher Alexander in "A Pattern Language" shows how the patterns we use to create indoor and outdoor spaces greatly affects the behaviors we see in these spaces. Spaces can breakdown a community or help it form important bonds that enable safety and care.
  • Studies show that spaces that are designed to support walking actually result in more people walking.
    • Cite studies here

Healthy Lifestyle Patterns

  • Access - One Mile radius ... reasons

-Adults with a grocery store within 1 mile of their home are 54-75% more like to have a healthy diet

  • Intentional about healthy lifestyle
    • Design => Healthy Lifestyle => Benefits

Why what We Do Matters

  • Institute for Population Health?