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StAND

What is StAND?

The Study of Active Neighborhoods in Detroit (StAND) is a collaborative research project between Michigan State University, Detroit Audubon and the City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department. The study is led by Dr. Amber Pearson, Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University. We aim to better understand the link between nature and active and healthy neighborhoods in Detroit.

Why does this matter?

This research aims to better understand the health of Detroit residents and how we can improve neighborhood conditions while also improving the natural environment. Through this research, we hope to better understand how to support and create active and healthy neighborhoods for everyone.

In an increasingly urbanized world, many people have become disconnected from nature. Yet, contact with nature is fundamental for human health and quality of life. Across the globe, it is estimated that 55% of the population currently resides in cities. Many cities lack easy access to natural spaces or 'greenspaces', particularly in low-income areas. Contemporary lifestyles and neighborhood conditions have led to increased public health concerns, including lack of physical activity, little time spent outdoors, and the rising prevalence of mental health and chronic disease issues.

This research aims to better understand the health of Detroit residents and how we can improve neighborhood conditions while also improving the natural environment. Through this research, we hope to better understand how to support and create active and healthy neighborhoods for everyone

Why Detroit?

We hope to learn about what makes neighborhoods active and healthy. By conducting this study in Detroit, we hope to promote Detroit as a beacon of healthy, active neighborhoods for other cities across the USA and beyond.

Our Research Partners

Detroit Audubon and City of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department

Our Funding

We are funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute and the Detroit Medical Center. Additionally, we are funded by:

Detroit Audubon

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Michigan State University

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News

Holiday Tip Sheet Title Graphic
by Dr. Ventra Asana, Field Team Manager, StAND
We are now several months into the Covid-19 pandemic and as the holidays beckon, we must be extremely careful to limit our exposure to anyone outside our immediate “pod” of friends or family. Nevertheless, scary as this is, we must hunker down and figure out ways to thrive the next few months. Here are a few things to help you plan ahead as winter approaches:
  • Make plans to enjoy the holiday season: Even though we’re unable to spend the holidays like in the past, we can still have a good time. Plan a contest with friends and family on who can assemble the prettiest (or weirdest) holiday decorations and share them on social media. Don’t forget to plan for a festive meal, whether you cook it yourself or support local businesses using carryout.
  • Devise a health plan: Ask yourself, “what are my plans to get healthy or stay healthy”? Plan to “go outside” even when it’s cold. Just getting fresh oxygen has many benefits, including increasing energy, and improving mental sharpness. Include a new winter activity like ice skating, building a snowman, walking in the snow, or exploring a park in your neighborhood.
  • Make plans for the New Year: What do you envision for the coming year? At some point a vaccine will have arrived and we will slowly come out of restrictions. Plan for what you want to accomplish in 2021, especially the first six months. Will you go see family when it’s safe again? Or will you finally explore your own city’s cultural and historical sites? Dream about what might be next for you.
These are a few ideas that I believe will contribute to a more meaningful holiday experience under the current conditions. Yes, we are all tired, but making plans can help us to cope better. And one day very soon, we’ll look up and we will be able to come outside again to be together with each other, and to never forget how precious we really are to one another.

The Nature Gap (July 21, 2020)

Clean drinking water, clean air, public parks and beaches, biodiversity, and open spaces are shared goods to which every person in the United States has an equal right both in principle and in law. Nature is supposed to be a “great equalizer” whose services are free, universal, and accessible to all humans without discrimination. In reality, however, American society distributes nature’s benefits—and the effects of its destruction and decline—unequally by race, income, and age.



A SYMBOL OF SPRING AND A SIGN OF HOPE -- DAFFODILS BLOOM ACROSS Detroit (APRIL 27, 2020)

A symbol of spring and a sign of hope -- Daffodils bloom across Detroit. Get outside and enjoy nature! Watch this video highlighting the work of Barry Burton of Detroit Parks and Recreation Department.



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Community Supporters


The following organizations and businesses have supported our research in Detroit neighborhoods.

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