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Stateside Podcast: A garden's message against urban pollution

There’s a corner in Detroit’s East Canfield neighborhood that feels like a slice of heaven at this time of year.

This is one of those blocks where many houses have been demolished, leaving the trees to themselves, with wind whisking through the leaves on sunny days. You can hear the kids on recess at Barack Obama Leadership Academy across the street. One older lady is sweeping her sidewalk, and a guy on a riding mower is cutting the grass across the street. It’s gorgeous.

Thanks to the neighborhood activism of Detroiters like Kim and Rhonda Theus, this corner is a counterpoint to blight, lack of services, and the hazards of air pollution from the Stellantis plant a few blocks away.

This month, a group called Sidewalk Detroit — which prioritizes reactivating over rebuilding — will add another feature: regenerative plantings to filter the air, an air quality monitor, and a huge sculpture to serve as a gateway to the park, by New York based artist Jordan Weber.


Jordan Weber, artist and activist

Rukiya Colvin, Sidewalk Detroit project manager

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