Southfield Goes Green!


Green cities don’t just happen by accident. They are the result of an entire community—it’s residents, businesses and government—working together to create an environmentally-friendly and sustainable city. There are many things that each of us can do, as individuals, families or companies, to reduce our “carbon footprint” or impact upon the environment. As a result, green cities experience a higher quality of life through clean air and water, beautiful parks and green spaces, clean and efficient energy use, local and organic food, and green jobs and building policies—improving the health of residents and ensuring long-term economic vitality.

The City of Southfield has always been a progressive, ecologically-friendly city that has strived to protect the environment with its policies and programs. Southfield elected officials have long been committed to protecting and preserving natural areas for future generations. City leaders and planners make every effort to be good stewards and protectors of the environment with every site plan reviewed and ordinance enacted. We must also each do our own part to curb global warming by recycling, reusing and conserving energy in our daily lives. Global warming is a big problem, but we can tackle it if we work together. Just a few practical steps can significantly reduce your carbon footprint, save money, clean up our air and water, create new jobs and industries and fight global warming—two percent at a time. That’s what it will take to stabilize our climate—just a two percent reduction in carbon emissions each year for the next 40 years. But to reach the goal of 80 percent reduction by 2050, we all must be part of the two percent solution.

The City of Southfield has already taken many practical steps that are both proactive and progressive. The city of Southfield has a long history of preserving green spaces and enacting ordinances that protect the environment. As a proud Tree City USA Award recipient for the past 24 consecutive years, Southfield has long been committed to protecting green spaces with nearly 800 acres of park land including 400 acres of woodlands and wetlands set aside for preservation. The City of Southfield has also won several awards for its green, environmentally-friendly policies, programs and projects. Southfield won the 2008 Quality of Life award from the Michigan section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the 2008 Project of the Year award from the Michigan chapter of the American Public Works Association for the environmentally-friendly Municipal Complex South Parking Lot Project. The project involved removing the existing concrete pavement and installing a new pervious asphalt pavement, base and bioswale, a central depressed planted area that utilizes the excess rainwater. The new lot was designed and constructed utilizing new technology and materials that make it environmentally-friendly, reducing storm water runoff by one-third and filtering it before it reaches streams and other waterways. This approach not only helps to protect the environment, but also to reduce the impact upon the immediate habitat.

The City also won a 2008 Project of the Year award from the Michigan chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the Carpenter Lake Restoration Project. The purpose of the project was to restore Carpenter Lake for storm water management, public recreation and fish and wildlife habitat to create the Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve. The preserve features 42-acres of mature Oak-Hickory woodlands, forested wetlands and native meadows overlooking the beautiful five-acre Carpenter Lake. The use of porous paving and other storm water management features were also incorporated into the parking lot to provide control of water runoff. This method greatly reduces flooding and pollution of the Rouge River. A new nature interpretive center will be constructed beginning in 2010, adding another important educational component to the preserve. The Carpenter Lake Nature Interpretive Center will utilize “green,” sustainable architectural design and feature hands-on displays to educate the public about local flora and fauna. The center will also educate the public about eco-friendly lifestyle choices, from landscaping with native plants, to preventing fertilizer runoff. The building itself will also be designed to demonstrate “green” or sustainable architecture in ways that people can apply to their own living environments.

There are many simple steps that each of us can take to reduce our impact upon the environment. Everyone has a role to play—you, businesses, government. By making different, smarter decisions right now about how we use energy at home, at work and as a nation, we can cut our carbon emissions and curb climate change. To do our part, the City has launched the “Southfield Goes Green” environmental awareness campaign to raise awareness about this important issue while also providing sensible ideas and solutions—empowering people to take action and to spread the word. As part of the campaign, the City of Southfield has launched this revamped “green” City Web site that includes an expanded section on the environment and green living. The site contains detailed information for both residents and businesses regarding practical things that each of us can do, as individuals or organizations, to help improve our environment. The City’s revamped “green” Web site offers numerous tips to help get you started living a more green, environmentally-friendly lifestyle. It includes news, facts and suggestions that encourage eco-friendly choices as well as additional links to other educational and environmental Web sites. Together, we can make a difference today for future generations tomorrow.