Working With Lots Program 2020

Detroit Future City’s (DFC) Working with Lots Program aims to accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit using the Field Guide to Working with Lots. The program has three components: an annual grant program, workshop series, and maintenance program.

The Working with Lots Program encourages Detroiters to install one of 38 lot designs to activate community spaces, beautify neighborhoods and address increased rainfall through green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) practices. 

The Working with Lots Grant Program has been funded by the Erb Family Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and Bank of America.

Community groups, faith-based institutions, nonprofits, small businesses and other community organizations interested in using the Field Guide to activate a lot in their community can email to speak with a member of the Field Guide team.

Congratulations to our 2020 Grantees!

Click to read the full press release

This year, Detroit Future City (DFC) will award over $50,000 in grants to eight Detroit-based organizations to support transforming vacant Detroit land into well-maintained landscapes. Since beginning its Working with Lots Program in 2016, DFC has awarded grants to 50 different organizations, including this year’s grantees.

Congratulations to:

20 Books, Inc.

Auntie Na’s House

Bryden Central Block Club

Canfield Consortium

Detroit Hives

Emerald Isles Community Development Corporation

Mushroom Factory

Norhend Christian Community Development Corporation


Click on an organization to learn more about them and their WWL project.


In 2019, DFC’s Working with Lots Program launched a workshop series to increase Detroiters’ capacity to successfully install land-based projects. DFC partnered with different Detroit organizations to offer workshops aimed at strengthening skills and knowledge to better install, maintain and enhance Field Guide lot designs and other community spaces.

Now in its second year, the Working with Lots Workshop Series continues to invite Detroiters to participate in workshops around community engagement, gardening and designing land-based projects.


SAVE THE DATE for these Upcoming Events:

Land Acquisition – Thursday, February 13, 2020

Project Planning & Community Engagement – Thursday, March 5, 2020

Basics of Pruning – Thursday, March 24, 2020 – CANCELLED.

Grant Writing & Resource Hustle Webinar – Thursday, April 2, 2020

Garden Maintenance – Tuesday, May 18, 2020 (POSTPONED.)

Water Catchment & Irrigation – Thursday, June 25, 2020

Leveraging Media & Communicating Your Vision – Thursday, July 30, 2020

Planting Techniques – Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Bench Building – Thursday, September 17, 2020



The Working with Lots program awarded its first cohort of grantees in 2016, with installations taking place throughout the city of Detroit. Since then, DFC has invested over $330,000 in communities and vacant land transformation through the Working with Lots Program. Click below to learn more about past Working with Lots grantees.


Working with Lots Grantees – 2019

Working with Lots Grantees – 2018

Working with Lots Grantees – 2017

Working with Lots Grantees – 2016

Meet the 2020 Working with Lots Grantees

20 Books, Inc.

Located in the East Davison Village neighborhood, 20 Books, Inc. is a community-based nonprofit that uses literacy and blight clean-ups to grow and support the community. They will implement the Side Lot Solutions lot designs, which will transform three separate sites within a half-mile radius.

Auntie Na's House

From a food pantry to clothing donation, Auntie Na’s House has been a huge support system for the Westside community for a long time. This year, they are using their grant to implement the Mounds of Fun lot design, which uses topography to create a fun, interactive area for kids of all ages.

Bryden Central Block Club

Located in Detroit’s District 6, the Bryden Central Block Club empowers its community through insightful workshops and events related to environmental and political issues. They will implement a custom lot design that will address the need for outdoor recreational space.  

Canfield Consortium

Canfield Consortium is a community group that continues to improve the East Canfield community in becoming a flourishing and economically-sound neighborhood. Returning to the program for the third year in a row, the group will implement the Forest Patcher lot design, which transforms an existing forested space into a naturalized amenity for the East Canfield community.

Detroit Hives

Detroit Hives is a nonprofit that transforms vacant lots into urban bee farms. They will implement the Perennial Propagator lot design, a show-stopping display that hosts dozens of perennial flowers that spread and can be divided for other projects.

Emerald Isles Community Development Corporation

Emerald Isles Community Development Corporation is a community development organization driven towards environmental quality, protection, and beautification in East English Village.

They will implement the Perennial Propagator lot design, a show-stopping display that hosts dozens of perennial flowers that spread and can be divided for other projects.

The Mushroom Factory

The Mushroom Factory grows gourmet fungus-based foods for restaurants and farmers’ markets. This small business on Detroit’s Eastside will implement the Storm Soaker lot design, which uses engineering and natural elements to manage Detroit’s increased rainfall onto the cement.


Northend Christian Community Development Corporation

Northend Christian Community Development Corporation is a community development organization that continues its work to activating vacant storefronts and extensive urban agricultural projects in the Northend Neighborhood. They are best known for the Oakland Avenue Farmers Market, the first agricultural urban landscape in Detroit’s North End.

They will implement the Perennial Propagator lot design, a show-stopping display that hosts dozens of perennial flowers that spread and can be divided for other projects.

The Field Guide to Working with Lots

View the full, interactive Field Guide online now.
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Detroit Future City Strategic Framework

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