Growing-Up Warrendale: Trauma-Informed Landscape Operations for Neighborhood Intersections

Perspective rendering of a combination of operations deployed on a vacant corner lot.

by Ana Cristina Garcia  (MLA I ’17)

The neighborhood of Warrendale in Detroit is transforming into a receiving community for an arriving Arab refugee and immigrant community. Although the receiving and arriving communities share little cultural or ethnic similarities, both communities have had to endure adverse and traumatic experiences. Trauma is defined by a prolonged exposure to toxic stress. Toxic stress is the body’s continued activation of physiological stress responses and, can be particularly damaging to children’s psychosocial well being. The point of departure of this project is the understanding that trauma, although stemming from different experiences in each community, has a shared neuro-developmental effect in children. This project focuses on the potential of the neighborhood to mediate the traumas of children in both the receiving and the arriving communities. The aim is to identify features in the neighborhood that trigger and contribute to a stress-response and transform them into places of physical and emotional safety for children.