The City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department faced a challenge within the neighborhood of Old Redford, aspiring to positively inform the constituency there, and rewarding them for having stayed when others fled leaving only 25% of the neighborhood fabric intact. But what was proposed by the Planning Department did not reflect the needs and wants of the citizens who represent a truly vital contingency. Land Collective was engaged by the Department of Planning to work with neighborhood leaders, including Tetra Tech, Detroit Block Works, and the Old Redford Business Association, as well as the people of the neighborhood to assist in understanding what THEY saw as necessary improvements to the connective tissue of their Detroit neighborhood, not what others deemed appropriate. Unlike past city planning efforts, the studio engaged the residents of Old Redford directly, to conceptualize the neighborhood improvements that complemented the Grand River Northwest Framework Plan, and envisioned a project that positively informed daily life – not just a beautification measure.
Working with the community, the team has identified vacant parcels that can become strategic opportunities for the neighborhood. A linear pedestrian corridor will stitch these episodic moments along its length in support of the project goals: to celebrate and memorialize neighborhood identity; to improve connectivity to community assets; to support existing businesses and develop new ones; and to activate vacant parcels and stabilize single family residential areas.