Newell Featured in The University Record

The University Record ran a weeklong “Victors for Michigan” feature highlighting Joshua Newell’s work on underutilized urban spaces in a week long “Victors for Michigan.”

Back alleys, vacant lots and underutilized urban spaces hold great potential for fostering more sustainable cities, if they can be reimagined and transformed into multidimensional green infrastructure that simultaneously delivers environmental, social and economic benefits, says Joshua Newell, assistant professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

“Traditionally, city planning around green urban redevelopment has been driven by one agency with a single agenda, so there’s been little focus on trying to achieve multiple objectives,” he says. “We can be more strategic in these redevelopment efforts. There’s much greater potential to achieve simultaneous benefits by repurposing neglected urban spaces with more than just one pillar of sustainability in mind.”

Much of Newell’s urban sustainability research focuses on developing new models for what he describes as coupling multiple ecosystem services within a single redeveloped urban space. For example, an empty lot in a park-poor neighborhood can be repurposed as green parkland that serves as open space for residents, a playground for children and a means for abating stormwater runoff.View More