Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing has pushed city leaders and residents to find new ways to manage its financial, human and natural resources. After several years in the red, some Detroit decision-makers are now looking to take the Motor City into the blue… as in blue infrastructure.
What is Blue Infrastructure?
Blue infrastructure refers to the redirection of rain water from sewers to ponds and other storage facilities. The same runoff is then used to revitalize urban areas and promote reforestation.
Detroit currently spends billions of dollars each year to prevent rain-filled sewers from overflowing into the streets. Blue infrastructure would cut that cost and help to revitalize sections of the city making them more attractive for urban farming and other green development projects that bring in new revenue.
Another big benefit of blue-green infrastructure for Detroit is an eco-management system that uses existing land areas to improve the quality of natural and man-made resources. Construction and management of the new infrastructure would also create new jobs in an area long depressed with high unemployment.
While Detroit considers a blue and green future, blue infrastructure is already in place in many cities across the globe. Successful projects from Stockholm to Toronto, as well as several coastal U.S. cities, make a solid argument for Detroit’s move toward blue infrastructure.
Obstacles for the Blue Future
Blue infrastructure is no quick payoff. The proposed blue and green initiative for Detroit would be implemented over the next half century. And while the blue infrastructure concept appears to be a viable option for Detroit’s short- and long-term ecological and financial concerns, it still requires significant economic, municipal, and public investment and support just to get off the ground.
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