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Phase I Collaboration begins on Detroit, Michigan’s Bloo...

Phase I Collaboration begins on Detroit, Michigan’s Bloody Run Creek

Daylighting Detroit, Michigan’s Bloody Run Creek will be no small feat, but it’s a project that truly embodies a new and sustainable direction for the city. St. Louis developer, Richard Baron, has been pitching redevelopment ideas to Detroit since the 1980’s, but until now, nothing’s stuck. Flowing south, just east of downtown and into the

Bloody Run Creek, Detroit, MI

Daylighting Detroit, Michigan’s Bloody Run Creek will be no small feat, but it’s a project that truly embodies a new and sustainable direction for the city. St. Louis developer, Richard Baron, has been pitching redevelopment ideas to Detroit since the 1980’s, but until now, nothing’s stuck.

Flowing south, just east of downtown and into the Detroit River, Bloody Run Creek was named after a particularly gory battle between the British and Chief Pontiac’s warriors in the mid-18th century. As the city grew, sanitation and public health became a major concern. Several rivers, including Bloody Run, were channelize and buried to create an urban sewer system.

These methods were universal for cities experiencing urban expansion during the industrial era. Recently, a mounting awareness of sustainable infrastructure, combined with the practice of urban planning and landscape architecture, many places have taken on extensive daylighting projects. Some successful projects include: Cheonggyecheon River in Singapore, Singapore; Providence River in Providence, RI; Saw Mill River in Yonkers, NY; and Arcadia Creek in Kalamazoo, MI.

The proposed 3,000-acre greenway and urban development promises environmental, economic, as well as community benefits to Detroit’s near east side. It will restore natural habitat, reduce the strain on Detroit’s water treatment plant, and prevent sewer over-flows into Detroit River. As an urban design project, daylighting will increase property values, encouraging private investment and creating desirable residential units.

2012 Bloody Run Creek Greenway Redevelopment Project Plan

It’s a big investment. According to Crain’s Detroit, the $1 Billion plan will take 10 years to complete, but with $450,000 from the Kresge Foundation and over half the land currently vacant or city owned, the conditions seem right to begin Phase I. Baron is collaborating with architect, Stephen Vogel, and designers at University of Detroit Mercy Collaborative Design Center, as well as Forest City Enterprises Inc. and Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, Ceara O'Leary.

Detroit is a shrinking city, urban agriculture, greenway development, and river daylighting are part of our sustainable future.

What are the indicators of a successful "green" project? Do you agree that daylighting is a worthy venture for the cities?

Credits: Images and data linked to the sources.

Intern photo

Alexandria Stankovich graduated from The University of Michigan with a B.S. in Architecture. In order to gain an authentic understanding of the urban context through the lens of education, she became a Denver, Colorado corps member with Teach for Am...

  • Kenneth Passiak

    What about the battlefield of Bloody Run? What is going to happen to it? These areas are always lost to developers! !! Even with the best of intentions there are always people that will take advantage of development. Everytime I go past the old model T Factory site and see that strip mall it makes me sick!!!

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