U-M design team leads effort to revive Detroit’s riverfront

January 7, 2003
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Drawing on national experts as well as local industry and civic leaders, the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning will bring the Detroit Design Charrette to Detroit’s riverfront Jan. 10-13 to help plan its future. The design and planning team will be aiding a more than $500 million effort to re-develop Detroit’s waterfront from Joe Louis Arena to Belle Isle with more than 4,000 new homes, a new state park and miles of green space, walkways and new development. The teams will focus on the area immediately adjacent to the waterfront development, from the planned state park to Harbortown, though one or two teams may also tackle the former Uniroyal site off Jefferson near Belle Isle. Detailed illustrations from past charrettes can be found at www.tcaup.umich.edu/charrette/index.html The intensive workshop, or design charrette, aims to bring creative solutions to big challenges in a short amount of time. The effort brings together four competing teams, each with some urban design and planning leaders along with graduate students and business and civic leaders. Besides four design-oriented teams, this year’s charrette will add a fifth implementation team made up of business, law and urban planning students. The team will be led by professional developers to assess financial feasibility and recommend ways to implement plans. The Taubman College and its sponsors have made the charrette a gift to Detroit for of the past four years, each year focusing on a different portion of the city targeted for re-development. The final presentation of the results is set for 4:45 p.m. Jan. 13 at the UAW/GM Center for Human Resources, 200 Walker Street. Seating is limited to 350. The charrette is sponsored in large part by the in-kind support of DTE Energy and is considered to be the largest urban design charrette in the country. U-M’s architectural program is considered among the top such schools in the nation. Members of the media are welcome at the sessions. To gain access at the DTE Energy General Administration Building, go to the main entrance at 660 Plaza Drive and contact the media relations department at (313) 235-5555. Artwork of the winning designs will be available Jan. 13 at the closing session at the UAW/GM Center for Human Resources. Sponsors
DTE Energy, BankOne, General Motors, UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, U-M Office of the President, Office of the Provost and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Other contributors include Strather & Associates, Greater Detroit Building Trades Council, Stoney Creek Brewery and the U-M Media Union.

Top industry leaders participating in this year’s charrette as team leaders include: New York architect Max Bond, former dean of the architecture and urban planning school at CCNY; Toni Griffin, deputy director of planning for the District of Columbia; Thomas Balsley, a New York landscape architect who has already been working on Detroit’s east riverfront as a design consultant; Randy Morton of Cooper, Robertson & Partners, who has also been working as a consultant on Detroit’s riverfront; John Cox and Dean Stermer, project managers at Hines; Malik Goodwin, project manager from the Detroit Economic Development Corp. and Corey Leon, the Development Corp’s senior business development executive; Cynthia Silveri, principal, Silveri Architect; Constance Bodurow, founding executive director of MotorCities-Automobile National Heritage Area; SmithGroup Principal Mary Jukuri and SmithGroup Vice President Barry Murray. Local speakers scheduled to participate in the orientation session at DTE Energy’s headquarters include Detroit Free Press Publisher Heath Meriweather; Burney Johnson, planning director at the Detroit Planning and Development Department; Paul Robertson of Robertson Brothers Inc.; George Jackson Jr., president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., Eric Larson of Larson Realty and John Marshall, president of the Kresge Foundation.