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Building Green for the Future: Case Studies of Sustainable Development in Michigan
Allyson Pumphrey, Student ASLA & and Peter Acuff, Student ASLA

University of Michigan
Advisors: Larissa Larsen, PhD. ASLA

Intended purpose:

  1. This handbook goes beyond stating that ‘green’ is good. This handbook of sustainable development projects in Michigan is intended to demystify “green” development practices for real estate developers, design professionals, and policy-makers in the State of Michigan and beyond.
  2. By explaining sustainable development practices, identifying the market for green buildings and grounding the concept in eleven built projects within this state, the publication hopes to catch the attention of those private and public individuals engaged in development.


  1. This document was designed and organized to cater to the needs and interests of any group or individual involved in real estate acquisition and/or development. This includes:
      1. Real estate developers
      2. Design professionals, such as landscape architects, architects, and planners
      3. Local and state policy-makers
      4. Building owners
      5. Current and prospective homeowners


  1. Sustainable development is feasible and affordable in Michigan. It has an increasing presence in the state and the demand for green development is rising (see handbook pages 14-15, 20-24).
  2. The benefits of sustainable development include financial, environmental, and social outcomes (see handbook pages 9-11).
  3. Green development can vary from simple actions, using off-the-shelf technologies, to more complex, integrated strategies (see handbook pages 16-17).
  4. The integrated, green design approach pays considerable dividends to the developer, the community, and the environment (see handbook pages 18-19).
  5. Eleven case studies of sustainable development projects in Michigan (representing residential, institutional, commercial and educational facilities), demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of sustainable / green development in this climate and in this real estate market (see handbook pages 28-101).

Method of development (hand rendering, computer graphics, etc.):

  1. Handbook content and case study projects were chosen through collaboration with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
  2. Introductory content (handbook pages 9-25) was developed by in-person interviews, materials collected from conferences attended by the authors, as well as publications and periodicals on the subject.
  3. Creating the eleven case study narratives required interviewing the ultimate clients, making multiple site visits, coordinating professional photography, and following up with discussions with developers, contractors, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and lending institutions to assemble the relevant details (handbook pages 28-101).
  4. The document was composed using QuarkXpress desktop publishing software.

Impact and effectiveness:

  1. This publication, in its many forms, will hopefully advance the conversation around green and sustainable development in the state of Michigan encourage others to undertake “sustainable” development by revealing the details of eleven Michigan projects.
  2. Three thousand printed copies will be completed on Tuesday, May 31st. These handbooks will be distributed (not for sale) across the state of Michigan by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality representative and by our other project partners (see inside back cover of the handbook for a listing of our partners). Several hundred copies will be mailed to local municipalities and developers. Several hundred copies will also be distributed outside of Michigan as the authors travel to related conferences and trade shows (also not for sale) in the next few months. Case study contact persons will also receive approximately 5 copies each.

Other issues as appropriate:

  1. Due to the conflict between the deadline for this award submission and our expected print delivery date, the version of the handbook submitted for your consideration is a spiral-bound replica. The 3,000 perfect-bound copies currently being printed will have higher resolution images, a more sophisticated binding, and more interesting paper (recycled, of course).


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