Green Alley - Design Studio
Sustainable Alley Design Considerations
The alley is alive...it is a living system. All great design starts from here and joins with this life, respects it and unfolds with it.
There is an important need to first consider the way the space interacts with the the earths most powerful natural systems - the water, sun, wind and land and our living relatives.
- reduce the rapid runoff by returning water to the natural water cycles (out of the human water cycles.)
- have the water be cleaner leaving the alley than when it entered
- Prevent toxins and oil runoff
- support natural water storage by reducing the amount of pavement and bare soil
- snow removal?
- Use pervious/permeable pavements that let the water return to the natural water table.
- Harvest the water from the building's runoff
- Use native plants that have roots that clean the water
- Encourage the growth of microbes that can actually clean the water.
- We went and observed the alley during a nice rain storm on July 12, 2008. Here is how water made its way to the drains and large ponding areas. We took a video of the whole alley during the rain...watch it here.
Detroit Average Monthly Precipitation (includes snowfall)
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 1.91" 1.88" 2.52" 3.05" 3.05" 3.55" 3.16" 3.10" 3.27" 2.23" 2.66" 2.51" TOTAL 32.89"
Actual 2007 Detroit Monthly Precipitation
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 3.02" 0.82" 3.09" 2.68" 2.56" 3.10" 2.10" 6.61" 1.44" 2.00" 1.77" 3.48" TOTAL 32.67"
Actual 2006 Detroit Monthly Precipitation
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 3.24" 2.71" 3.21" 2.71" 4.6" 3.95" 4.38" 2.05" 1.73" 4.11" 2.9" 3.65" TOTAL 39.24
Actual 2005 Detroit Monthly Precipitation
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 3.40" 3.02" 0.74" 1.66" 1.85" 1.95" 5.38" 1.33" 1.63" 0.13" 4.70" 2.52" TOTAL 33.58"
Actual 2004 Detroit Monthly Precipitation
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 1.43" 0.63" 3.29" 0.69" 8.46" 2.86" 2.85" 4.52" 0.65" 2.08" 3.21" 2.91" TOTAL 28.31"
Detroit Average Monthly Snowfall
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 11.9" 9.3" 7.0" 1.7" Trace 0" 0" 0" 0" 0.3" 2.7" 11.1"
- Eliminate "heat island" effect that affects our climate and the habitat
- Green screen using native plants on the south sides of buildings
- Use ground covers (natural and man made) that process the sun energy efficiently and reduce the heat build up.
- Use trees for shade canopy...especially on the south and west sides
- Lighter pavement color can reduce the surface temperatures by 20 - 40 degrees and air temperatures by 2 - 4 degrees.
- July 29, 2008 @ 9 AM pictures of the sun
- July 24, 2008 @ noon pictures of the sun
- The sun pattern is affected by the height of the buildings on the south side. This is why the center of the alley (near the MCBW) is much brighter during the day.
- A video of sun patterns on the alley
- August 4, 2008 @ 3 PM pictures of the sun
- Encourage healthy air movement...prevent wind tunnels
- Keep an "east-west" air pathway open
- Add natural uneven surfaces
- The alley runs east-west and has a nice breeze most of the time.
Land and Our Relatives
- Reduce our waste stored in the alley and sent to incinerator
- Allow the land to breathe
- Give a bird, a bee, a butterfly and a worm a reason to visit the alley ... allow the essential interconnectedness of life to return
- Reduce night light pollution and noise pollution
- Establish a natural canopy system of interdependence
- Study the plant life...the land is bring forth life against all odds (mostly human.)
- Study the garbage and determine the source and consider changing to no-waste purchasing habits
- Establish a neighborhood composting center with education (lasagna garden)
- Establish a neighborhood recycling center
- Establish food gardens
- Leave some of the land unpaved
- Helen was visited by a butterfly when she walked down the alley
- How do we meet the other human needs for the space so the space fits in the natural world and creates a life giving system for the community.
- When I spent a day in the green garage there are many birds singing in the area. With some nesting areas they could really change the sound of the alley.
- There are some flowers in the alley... day lilies/ No native flowers that would attract and support the insects.
- John L. observed that there is an increase in rats in the area because several nearby abandoned buildings were torn down.
Other Human Needs
- Builds community wellbeing...strengthens relationships with all members of the community
- safety.... safe lighting at night, walking surface
- accessibility...all can traverse the space safely - barrier free
- eliminate noise pollution
- create a sense of an inviting community space
- Use a "community-based" design approach to get input from all
- meet proper night lighting requirements
- Winter snow removal needs
Second, how do we reduce our impact on the eco-system?
- Reduce the energy required to build, maintain and operate the alley and its environs
- reuse materials...concrete, pavers
- use natural building techniques
- reduce the need for artificial lighting
- use LED street lights...
- reduce need for maintenance.
- use local suppliers of materials
- Support the 'enlightened" Transportation Pyramid
- Pedestrians and bicyclist exit the Blackstone onto the alley.
- No materials leave the site
- Reuse and recycle materials
- reduce waste of new materials
- Reuse the concrete that is removed as crushed aggregate
- create build dimensions for new materials that reduce cutting + waste
- Lighting - City of Detroit?
- Electrical - DTE
- Water - DPS
- Telephone -
- Storm Sewer - DPS
- "In making the case for porous pavement, Bruce Ferguson provides compelling statistics on the severity of the problem of impervious surface in urban areas. In typical commercial development, for example, the overall impervious area averages 85%, with two-thirds of that from pavement and one-third from roofs. Porous pavement, where it can be implemented, provides such benefits as cleaner surface water (by allowing stormwater to be treated where it infiltrates the ground instead of carrying pollutants into surface waters), cooler cities, quieter cities, safer driving, and better tree survival rates. Porous Pavements clearly articulates these benefits and others. "
This is the area that the design concepts for the alley can be worked out.
- Dan has a vision of a Cass Farms - Block 99 community. It would bounded by Cass - Prentis - Canfield and Second Ave. It is a powerful vision for imagining what is possible if we worked together.
- Zac created a wonderful "green" vision for the block in this sketch below.
Potential Traffic Pattern/Use
- This idea has a pedestrian only area from Second Ave to the east end of the Motor City Brewing Works. This would allow this entire area to be safe with historic brick pathways through lush greenery. It is similar to the Community Greens or Courtyards in the examples of other city's above.
- The abutting property owners would own to the center of the road and be able to landscape in ways that improve the attractiveness of their properties. The large planting areas then would allow the area to control and contain its own water. The costs would be much less than the vehicle paving would be. Each owner could think of there needs. This is allowed with a 2/3's vote of the abutting property owners.
Typical Cross Section Design
Green Alley Cross Section
Details for Cross Section Drawings
1. Existing Pavement (Typically Concrete)
2. Top Soil
3. Permeable Pavers (3.5" depth) (e.g. Turf-slab)
4. Crushed Stone Bedding (3.5")
5. Crushed Natural Stone open-grade base course
6. Natural Stone open-grade sub-base course
- Railroad Ballast
- MDOT 4AA
7. Paver Brick (3.5" depth)
8. Concrete (6")
9. Crushed Stone Bedding (1")
10. Geo-tex fabric - low permeability
11. Geo-fabric B - high permeability (Mike it goes up on the ends to the metal
12. 18" Metal Retainer edging
Water Retention and Drainage
- Determine how much rain falls in our area and what the storm water drainage requirements are for Detroit
- 10 Year Daily = approx 3.5" of rain per day in Detroit.
- 25 Year Daily = approx 3.9" of rain per day in Detroit (see USDA reference doc here)
- 100 Year Daily = approx 4.9" of rain per day in Detroit. (see USDA reference doc here)
- 100 Year Hourly = 2.57" of rain per hour in Detroit. MDOT Rainfall Tables/ Michigan Plumbing Code = 2.75)
- Retention and Drainage Calculations
- Construction Checklist
- No compaction of soil subgrade – excavate and trim native soil
- Geotextile, drainage pipes and overflow vary with design
- Ensure no sediment and mud on aggregates from equipment
- Install and compact aggregate subbase and base with typical paving equipment
- Specialty equipment used for screeding bedding layer and for mechanical paver installation
- Mechanical installation equipment accelerates construction; typical 5,000 sf (500 m2)/machine/day
- Concrete pavers, non-frozen bedding, and base/subbase installable in freezing temperatures over non-frozen soil subgrade
- Paver joints filled with open-graded aggregate and compacted
- No curing time – ready to use upon installation; modular construction allows for project phasing
- Specify ICPI certified installers with PICP construction experience, inspection and detailing skills.
- IPCI Permeable Paver Construction Guidelines
- Right Plant - Right Place: sun exposure, moisture, scale, season, wildlife habitat role
- Increase the bio-diverity...the greater the number of species the greater the sustainability.
- We are restoring the habitat...and ourselves.
- Possible Native Plants (for others look in Native Plant Nursery and Michigan Native Plant List:
- Wild flowers: Cone flowers, coreopsis, black-eyed susan, bee balm, yarrow, little and big blue stem, golden alexanders, butterfly weed, asters
- Rain Garden: Turtlehead, spiderwort, joe pye weed, common milkweed, swamp milkweed, golden rod, indian hemp, blue iris
- Vine: Virginia Creeper, Virgin's Bower
- Shrub: Serviceberry, redtwig dogwood, nannyberry, viburnum,
- Small trees: Serviceberry, staghorn sumac, swamp birch, buttonwood
- maxiforce bollards
- Talked to Ashley Phone: 410-552-9888
- $100 - $200 for fixed bollard
- $600 - $700 collapsible bollards
- $60 to powder coat ... 180 colors
- Talked to Ashley Phone: 410-552-9888
- Talked to Sandy 877-283-8518 ...quote coming on Friday
- Can work with us
- Reliance Foundry Bollards
- Talked to Ken and he said they do have locking, removable bollards. Look at their Instructions (pdf).
- Can ship some immediately i.e. 7539.
- Shipping costs would be about $150
- They are in BC, Canada
- R7591 Bollard prefer aluminum.