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Green Infrastructure, and Community Engagement in Southeast Grand Rapids: Preliminary Findings

Authors: Kin Ma*, Grand Valley State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Water Resources and Hydrology, Cultural Geography
Keywords: green infrastructure, flood risk, water usage, community engagement
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The City of Grand Rapids (GRapids) is the second most populated city within the State of Michigan. The City’s long-term goals are to help improve water quality, reduce flooding, and to increase water conservation efforts. This study’s objective was to contribute to the analysis of the education and implementation of green infrastructure in underserved communities within southeastern GRapids. There was a partnership between the Grand Valley Geography Department and a non-profit organization, West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), who helped coordinate the ‘Rainy Day Contest’ project that was funded by a regional grant. Qualified under-served lower income Southeast GRapids residents in 4 neighborhoods, who had lived 10 or more years in their home, were provided green infrastructure items, low-flow toilets, low-flow showerheads. They competed in a water savings contest to calculate water usage changes between their Summer 2018/2019 water bills. For the green infrastructure/flooding surveys, residents were asked about their experiences with flooding in their basements, yards, and their neighbors’ yards. The survey results showed that 16/17 (94.1%) ‘Rainy Day Contest’ participants responded via telephone/mail. Through preliminary analyses, the survey responses showed only 2 (12.5%) and 3 (18.8%) participants with basement wetness/flooding before 2019, and during 2019, respectively. Eleven (68.8%) participants were women, and 12 participants were ethnic minorities. For the 17 participating homes, the total water usage was compared between the Summers 2018 and 2019. These participants reduced water usage by a total of 42,636 gallons (57.0 CCF), and the average water reduction of all homes was -10.05%.

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