University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Disparities in Green Infrastructure Implementation in Washtenaw County, Michigan

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June 2018

Aleah Rogalski

Abstract

Many Michigan cities’ water infrastructure are unable to handle excessive stormwater which can result in flooding or combined sewer overflows. Green infrastructure has been used as a solution to allow water to naturally infiltrate into the ground, thus preventing the effects from heavy precipitation in urban areas. However, environmental injustice may influence the distribution of green infrastructure projects. Using statistical analysis, this research explores how socioeconomic variables impact green infrastructure placement within Washtenaw County, Michigan. Analysis revealed that income and educational attainment, as well as home age, were statistically significant factors that influenced the placement of green infrastructure projects. Neighborhoods with higher median income and more residents with at least a bachelor’s degree were more likely to have green infrastructure projects. Additionally, neighborhoods with older homes increased the likelihood of green infrastructure projects. As policymakers and urban planners create plans for more climate-resilient communities, it will be important to account for disparities in education and income. By doing so, policymakers can ensure that disadvantaged neighborhoods receive equal benefit from green infrastructure placement, so that all communities are positively impacted.

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