Woodward Core Greenway: A Natural Evolution, Detroit

Brian Vitale and Matt Sitek

Our design transforms a section of the historical, cultural and automotive center of Detroit, Woodward Ave., into a human and community centered park and greenway.  The Woodward Core Greenway is a community centered place designed for and with our citizens to nurture healthy communities by connecting citizens to our past, to each other, and to nature.

We believe that our process and ideas can serve as the basis for a community engaged detailed design.  The design and our framework was inspired by Cradle-to-Cradle Design to reduce waste, celebrate the history of time, place,  and culture, and materials to evolve with the next 100 years of Detroit. We also drew inspiration from permaculture for a low input edible parkscape which we believe reconnects us and the community to nature and how living in a right relationship with nature can provide mutual benefits.  A Pattern Language served as a guide to design pedestrian and community friendly places, places where intergenerations and different pedestrian modes of transportation have a place to connect and interweave with each other (from elders to children; from foot to bicycle).

Finally, the root of our design and design framework is aimed at preserving and highlighting the spirit, history and culture of Woodward Avenue, celebrating Detroit and Woodward Avenue’s journey through history.  A history that started almost 6000 years ago, when present day Woodward Avenue was a footpath for the ‘first people’ on their journey to the Detroit River.  Then on July 24,1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and French explorers landed on the shores of the Detroit River and searched this new land. Eventually, Woodward became an important stop to freedom on the underground railroad. And currently it’s an automobile dominated, harsh and impermeable concrete avenue.  Our design attempts to tell this story, to highlight this spirit by building on these things as the foundation of our design (Example: Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects bricks serve as the pedestrian path).

The Woodward Core Greenway will serve as an example of what healthy human-centered communities can be, by strengthening our connection to our history, to our community, and to nature.

Visual Representation of Project:

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Place of Project Implementation:

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