Black Family Development Mini Lots

A mix and match of DFC Lot Designs used to promote beautification and community engagement


$2,500 to $5,500


Volunteer + Professional









BFDI used the Field Guide to provide sample suggestions on how to provide beautification to the identified lots within the community. Through our collective efforts, it provided an opportunity to engage community residents and other stakeholders to take responsibility and ownership for stabilizing their community.
Lot Type
Special Lot Condition
Project Name
Black Family Development Mini Lots

Black Family Development Mini Lots

A mix and match of DFC Lot Designs used to promote beautification and community engagement


$2,500 to $5,500

Project Timeline

2015 - 2016

Project Leader(s):

Derek Blackmon, David Mitchell, and Andrea Perkins


Volunteer + Professional

Who Else Was Involved:

Neighborhood residents, Black Family Development Staff Team, DTE Staff Team Block club organizations, The Greening of Detroit Staff Team Kresge Staff Team, Church Organizations

Lot Design:

Paisley PatchFour SeasonsMix 'N Match Meadow

Lot Type


Lot Size

Single Lot

Lot Address

Lots are located in the Osborn Community, District 3 in zip codes 48205 and 48234. This area is boarded by Gratiot Ave. to the east, Van Dyke to the west, and 8 Mile Rd. to the north and East McNichol’s to the south.

Describe the overall process for transforming your lot.

We were able to elevate implementation of the Field Guide in the Osborn community. We use the Field Guide as a tool that engages residents in the neighborhood to activate vacant lots where they live. This work fits into our larger community vision, and we were able to help residents implement various projects through our mini-lot program. 

We did this by collaborating with lot owners, discussed various design options for flowers/shrubs and ideas, solicited volunteers, set plant date, procured supplies/ plants and needed equipment. Next we met to remove trash and debris, e-weeded and prep lot for planting. Lastly, we planted by following the selected landscaping design.

Various lots have been transformed in the Osborn community. 

Why did your organization choose to undertake a project that involved incorporating the Field Guide to Working with Lots?

It was a great opportunity to assist residents in the community to identify, procure, design and implement beautification projects on their land. In doing so, BFDI, continues to build relationships and provide additional resources as needed to help maintain and sustain their property. Additionally, BFDI’s Bridges Work Force Development Program allowed us to educate and train youth 16-24 years of age to select a range of career pathways, including entrepreneurship in teaching landscaping engineering as part of their nine-month curriculum. The Osborn neighborhood Alliance Beautification Initiative, likewise was also focused on open space treatment throughout the Osborn Community.  To assist with this initiative, BFDI provided block club leaders with the tools, equipment and supplies required to transform vacant lots into beautiful spaces in the neighborhood.      

How did implementing the Field Guide fit into your organization’s larger mission?

The use of the Field Guide was a good fit for BFDI’s Long-Term Use Plan as follows:

In collaboration with the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, and community block clubs, will broaden revitalization efforts over the next three years. In doing so, BFDI will bring this work to scale  by integrating the Kresge Innovative Project with BFDI’s Promise Neighborhoods work, BFDI’s Bridges Workforce Development Program, and the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance.

What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned from using the Field Guide?

The transformation of the physical appearance on the neighborhood through the mobilization of over 5,000 volunteers for a six-day clean-up event was fantastic! With the support of the Kresge Foundation, equipment, tools and supplies were provided to clean and transform vacant lots and providing on the job training for volunteers allowed this to be done. These efforts have proven to have a significant impact on how residents including children, in Osborn feel about themselves, their schools and their community.

Was your project part of a larger plan, goal, or initiative within the community?

Yes! BFDI allowed equipment to be used by organizations in the Osborn Community to clean-up by youth who were apart of the Grow Detroit Young Talent summer work program and the Denby Community.

Did Detroit Future City provide any technical assistance? How was your experience of that component, if so?

Yes. DFC provided answers to questions as needed any technical assistance as needed.

How were community members involved in the process?

The following partners were very important in the achievement of the goals of this project: Detroit Future City, the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, MAN Network, several Osborn neighborhood associations, the Osborn Business Association, and over 100 block clubs. The Kresge Foundation and DTE   partnership with BFDI staff members played a significant role in the project.

Did you customize your lot design? If so, how?

Yes. The resident/owner provided input on the landscape design and what types of flowers, shrubs and etc. they wanted. Most of their design request were of low maintenance. Volunteers also played a part in the landscape design layout

Is your current project part of a larger plan, goal, or initiative within your community?


Purpose of the Project:

Beautification and Stabilization

Lessons Learned
Land Acquisition


Skill Building


Community Engagement






What was challenging about this process, and how did you adapt?

There were no roadblocks or challenges that were recognized because ongoing intentional community engagement and networking was occurring throughout the community. In addition, BFDI has a 10 year history of working in the community prior to the initiation of the project. BFDI had established over 250 block clubs in Osborn, established a respectable, engaging relationship with community members and associations. Lastly, BFDI has been hosting monthly community meeting/luncheons over the past 10 years.

 What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned from using the Field Guide?

The various types of landscaping design for flowers, shrubs and etc. were very interesting. It was a very educating experience for all involved.

What is the maintenance plan for this project after its first year?

Continued collaboration and communication with the residents/owners in the early spring is key. Assistance with revitalization projects via the block clubs, community associations and volunteers will be ongoing.