Imagine Flint: Master Plan for a Sustainable Flint, Michigan

The City of Flint, Michigan built a comprehensive Master Plan in 2013 as a policy guide for long-range planning in operations, future development, and as a tool to transform Flint into “a more sustainable, innovative, accessible, and economically vibrant community.” Imagine Flint is the City's first comprehensive Master Plan in over 50 years, and has a long range goal of 20 years for implementation. The plan incorporates numerous sustainability and climate change adaptation strategies.

Flint’s Master Plan contains land use designations, policies, goals, and objectives that direct future growth and development, while considering future zoning, development regulations, and capital improvement investments. The Master Plan includes eight sectoral sub-plans for:

Land Use
Housing & Neighborhoods
Transportation & Mobility
Environmental Features, Open Space & Parks
Infrastructure & Community Facilities
Economic Development & Education
Public Safety, Health & Welfare
Arts & Culture

The Environmental Features Plan has a strategy for Flint to “(d)evelop a climate change adaptation plan, particularly considering the needs of vulnerable populations such as the elderly, youth, and low-income community members.” The Environmental plan also contains mitigation and renewable energy goals - as well as suggested outreach strategies to work with community schools to educate the public on climate change.

The Infrastructure and Facilities Plan describes sustainable and renewable infrastructure as a measure to combat climate impacts. Development of “blue/green” infrastructure is suggested an approach to infrastructure and site design that “mimics natural systems using low-cost, simple techniques to contain and use stormwater close to where it falls and allow the ground to absorb water and filter pollution as it would before development occurred.” A primary goal of the Infrastructure plan is for Flint to create a local Climate Action Plan to address anticipated climate change, future population trends, available open space, and environmental resources - primarily through renewable and reduced energy consumption strategies. 

Adaptive sustainable development strategies are pervasive throughout each of the plans. The “Place-Based” Land Use Plan, for example, promotes a more sustainable and livable land use pattern, taking into consideration compatibility, access, market viability, sense of place, and the daily delivery of essential and desirable goods and services. The Land Use plan is intended to provide an appropriate balance and distribution of uses with green neighborhoods and green innovation areas, clustered development at key intersections and corridors, and easy access via walking and transit.

Flint's updated Zoning Code proposes low and medium density “Green Neighborhood” districts. The medium density district is intended to accommodate existing residential development on existing average sized lots, while also providing for the integration of green uses including community gardens, small-scale urban agriculture, and small open space areas.

Dedicated outreach processes and community engagement served as the foundation for the Imagine Flint planning process. The extensive, multi-phased outreach efforts involved over 5,000 Flint residents and roughly 6,000 community members that attended one of over 300 master plan events.


Publication Date: October 28, 2013

Related Organizations:

  • City of Flint, Michigan


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  • Plans (other)

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