Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan

Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan
Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan
Detroit East Riverfront Framework Plan

In a comprehensive plan to spur reinvestment in Michigan's largest city, a highly interconnected ecological vision centers on creating a vibrant waterfront, accessible to all residents.

Project Facts
  • Status Design Complete
  • Design Finish Year 2017
  • Size Site Area: 480 acres
  • Awards
    2019, National Honor Award for Urban Design, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2017, Unbuilt Design Award, AIA – Michigan Chapter
  • Collaborators
    HR&A Advisors, Inc. Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. (HR&A) Akt Peerless Six Pitch Giffels Webster Mcintosh Poris Associates
Project Facts
  • Status Design Complete
  • Design Finish Year 2017
  • Size Site Area: 480 acres
  • Awards
    2019, National Honor Award for Urban Design, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2017, Unbuilt Design Award, AIA – Michigan Chapter
  • Collaborators
    HR&A Advisors, Inc. Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. (HR&A) Akt Peerless Six Pitch Giffels Webster Mcintosh Poris Associates

A new chapter for Detroit

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. The framework plan is 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 continues the transformative vision set forth by the Detroit Planning and Development Department (PPD) to revitalize the waterfront and preserve green spaces. Sensitive development of the riverfront area would re-activate the blighted industrial area, introducing a vibrant public waterfront that is accessible to all Detroit residents.

Detroit
© SOM

Connecting inward and outward

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 reduce vehicular accidents, improve walkability, and beautify the corridor, and are designed to boost local business and facilitate safer access to the waterfront.

Working with the 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.

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