Green Grand Rapids

Green Grand Rapids
Green Grand Rapids
Green Grand Rapids

Working extensively with local residents, SmithGroup developed a forward-thinking, wide-ranging plan for community-wide green infrastructure development and improved urban sustainability.


City of Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids, Michigan


Community & Regional Plans, Government, Sustainable Design, Urban Design, Urban Environments, Urban Planning

Featured Awards

Michigan APA Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan, Grass Roots Initiative

ASLA MI Merit Award, Landscape Planning and Analysis

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This project thinks green and thinks big: a citywide master plan identifying sustainable, quality-of-life infrastructure and amenities to enhance both environmental and economic health for generations to come. More than a climate action plan, Green Grand Rapids is a wide-ranging approach to green infrastructure planning, using citizen involvement to promote sustainability.

Backed by an enthusiastic city government, SmithGroup introduced techniques for spurring community input while using sophisticated geographic information system (GIS) technology to analyze natural resource impacts and opportunities and establish priorities for future decision making. Project leaders used social media and “green gathering" workshops to foster public collaboration and support.

The resulting plan provides a visionary yet achievable framework for advancing the community's forward-looking agenda. Initiatives include new community gardens, complete streets design, tree planting, stormwater improvements, and a continuous riverwalk for the Grand River. The city's subsequent recognition as the most sustainable midsize city in the U.S. affirms the plan's ongoing impact and success.

“City staff, residents and stakeholders are extremely proud of these work products . . . This Master Plan update adds to the legacy of SmithGroup's progressive planning for our community.”

— Suzanne Schulz, Planning Director