Green Growth


As an organization that values and pursues sustainable development, ECN seeks to ensure that our efforts minimize any negative environmental impacts and create regenerative elements when possible. We incorporate green initiatives into our programming to reduce flooding, pollution, and other negative environmental impacts that affect the health of communities. The program also serves to educate residents and provide resources to the community concerning environmental topics.

Due to the importance of issues surrounding water and flooding in Detroit, we place a focus on green infrastructure to help mitigate stormwater overflow problems for residents on the east side and inform residents about water access and billing issues. ECN has incorporated green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) into vacant lot rehabilitation and beautification projects, as well as in updating its current office space. We also participate in several coalitions to voice the needs and concerns of east side communities.


For further information or questions, please contact Richard Ackerman, ECN Green Growth Program Manager at


Green Growth

Green Education


Eastside Community Network is committed to educating residents about for water issues, rights and solutions in the city of Detroit. In 2017 we hosted the Summit on Water and created a short documentary showcasing the water issues affecting Detroit, including problems with access, billing, and flooding. The key figures interviewed in the documentary provide insight on the complex water situation the city faces and direction on how to move forward for a more equitable and sustainable future for the people of Detroit.

Green Growth

Green Infrastructure Development


Green Infrastructure Projects

To date, we have worked on the following rain garden projects:

Project: ISC Mini- Grant Rain Gardens
Location: 3 in Jefferson- Chalmers, 1 in Chandler Park

Project: Green Thoroughfare Pennycress Site
Location: Mack Ave (between Drexel and Lakeview)

Project: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Rain Garden Lots
Location: Pennsylvania St. south of Mack; Belvidere St. north of Mack

Project: Hamilton Outdoor Learning Lab
Location: Hamilton Academy

Outdoor Master Raingardener Class

In 2016, Eastside Community Network received one of two national grants from the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) to develop rain gardens in our community and educate residents. Through our ISC funding we were able to teach residents how to create their own raingardens in our 5-week Outdoor Raingarden Class. Residents that complete this class qualify for a mini-grants of $1,500-$3,000 for the installation of rain gardens to mitigate storm water runoff and decrease flooding in neighborhoods and basements. This course is led by InSite Design.


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Green Growth

Open Space Planning

As is true in many areas of Detroit, economic decline left east side communities with a large amount of vacant land that has largely became open space following the demolition of properties. The community now looks to leverage the open space to contribute to the beauty, health, and vitality of the neighborhood. ECN, in partnership with 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.


Chandler Park

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, lampposts, 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 from the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Mack Ave

Eastside Community Network (ECN) also seeks to incorporate attractive green infrastructure and green space into the landscape of Mack Ave. The goal is to provide usable places for residents and visitors, reduce drainage fees of local businesses where possible, and increase the beauty of the corridor even for those simply passing through.

We have begun a site selection process in conjunction with InSite Design and a group of Dow Sustainability Fellows from the University of Michigan to identify where there is potential for green infrastructure along Mack. To plan for selected sites, are residents and businesses will utilize the 3D modeling tool created by the School of Environment and Sustainability professors to engage in the design process. The site selection process will take place in May and June, and the community engaged design process will follow once the sites are chosen.