Building on a ten-year initiative led by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, SOM developed a framework plan for Detroit’s East Riverfront District, which lies adjacent to one of the world’s busiest international border crossings along the Detroit River. Designed to preserve more riverfront land for public use, generate greater community access to the Detroit River, and spur investment along the East Riverfront, the project seeks to continue the transformation of the East Riverfront area from a blighted, industrial area into a vibrant public waterfront accessible to all Detroit residents.
The strategic framework plan was realized after an intensive six-month program of community meetings, workshops, tours, and interviews. The plan outlines the addition of eight acres of park space to the East Riverfront and envisions keeping significant portions of the waterfront free from private development in perpetuity. The Beltline, a new greenway, will directly connect inland neighborhoods to the Detroit River, while the existing Joseph Campau Greenway will receive new lighting, paving, and landscaping. Improvements along Jefferson Avenue seek to reduce vehicular accidents, improve walkability, and beautify the corridor—improvements that are designed to boost local businesses and facilitate safer access to the waterfront.
Working with City of Detroit and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the project team included urban economic development specialists HR&A Advisors, landscape architects Michel Desvigne and Inessa Hansch, and local firms McIntosh Poris, Giffels Webster, Kraemer Design Group, AKT Peerless, Rich & Associates, and E. Austell Associates.