Detroit Riverfront

pub_fac_kirkwood_detroit_riverfrontAt this particular point in history Detroit faces enormous opportunities in the revitalization of its riverfront. Significant projects are planned and/or underway, and public and private conditions are in place for an economic re-birth of the district, and renewed public focus on the waterfront. These opportunities allow the creation of a district that represents both the needs of individual developments as well as Detroit and the region.

This revitalization will happen either as a series of a cooperative effort of all the stakeholders involved. There is no doubt that the results will be much more successful through such collaboration. Each project within the district should be developed in concert with each other to maximize public connections, orientation to the river, development of a public realm, and the overall sense of place. The riverfront is Detroit’s front yard, and as such can become the iconographic image of the city, with a civicness that will put Detroit in the league of the world’s great waterfront cities.

These proposals represent various strategies for achieving a unified yet diverse and vital district. While they do vary greatly, and are not final proposals by any means, they do illustrate the visionary approaches that are possible, particularly with cooperation. We urge the city and stakeholders to embrace this movement and work together to take the next steps in overall planning.

Editor: Mary Margaret Jones

Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2000