Chandler Park Open Space

For more information please contact Richard Ackerman at

For more information please contact Richard Ackerman at

Transforming vacant lots into productive community spaces.


As is true in many areas of Detroit, the housing crisis left the Chandler Park neighborhood with a large amount of vacant land that has largely become open space due to the demolition of homes. The community now looks to leverage this open space in ways that contribute to the beauty, health and vitality of the neighborhood.

Eastside Community Network, in partnership with Chandler Park residents, is working to turn vacant lots into spaces that support the needs of the community and incorporate green infrastructure to alleviate flooding issues from stormwater overflows.


The Hamilton Outdoor Learning Lab is being constructed across from Hamilton Academy in the Chandler Park neighborhood this June. The project aims to take a vacant, blighted lot and turn it into a beautiful, usable community space, while also incorporating green infrastructure. The site will contain rain gardens, flower beds, and an outdoor classroom. The space will serve to educate students and the stormwater from off the street. The project was made possible through a grant from the Kresge Foundation and the site plan was created by InSite Design.


In collaboration with professors from the University of Michigan's School of Environment and Sustainability, ECN hosted a series of workshops with a focus group of Chandler Park residents to utilize a 3D design tool that is under development. Over the course of these meetings, residents provided feedback to the SEAS professors to improve the design tool and make it more user-friendly. By the end of these workshops, residents had the opportunity to engage with the 3D design tool to actually create designs for open spaces in their neighborhood. They were able to incorporate benches, trees, lamp posts, rain gardens, and many other elements to imagine how they wanted the vacant spaces in their area to be transformed. One of the designs produced by the focus group will be implemented by the end of Fall 2018 with funding provided by the Institute for Sustainable Communities.