Ten Planning Lessons from Detroit’s Corktown Neighborhood


Some planning lessons learned from one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Detroit.

  • A city’s oldest neighborhood can also be a leader in its revival.
  • The historic site of a former major league stadium (Tiger Stadium) can enjoy a second life and become a successful neighborhood focal point by building upon the location’s rich sports heritage using community-based athletic programs at the The Corner Ballpark.
  • Detroit and much of Michigan still have far too many lanes on its major urban streets (Michigan Avenue in this case) that need to go on a road diet to become more people-friendly.
  • Corktown has amazing bones (infrastructure), residents, and cultural heritage to build upon.
  • Colorful and artistic murals can bring a welcome splash of local pride to a gritty urban environment.
  • Even small incremental investments in down-trodden neighborhoods can help rebuild a sense of hope while creating a catalyst for even greater investment in the community.
  • It is sad to imagine how much of the original urban fabric of Corktown specifically and Detroit in general have been lost to ill-advised and poorly planned transportation, urban renewal, and economic development projects.
  • Many cities would love to have close to the amount of cultural and historical gravitas that can be found just in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
  • The best recipe for long-term success of Detroit’s revival can be found in nurturing its amazing neighborhoods like Corktown.
  • Residents and businesses who have weathered the hard times should be afforded first priority to participate in the good times through grants, zero interest loans, property tax abatements, rent control, and other low or no cost mechanisms to honor their loyalty and commitment to the Corktown neighborhood.

Lastly, a side note. As the long-term epicenter of baseball in Michigan, Corktown SHOULD BE the home of both the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame and the Detroit Tigers Museum, not the places where they are currently located.

The Corner Ballpark – Source: jobbiecrew.com

The Corner Condos/Apts (under construction) overlooking The Corner Ballpark outfield – Source: detroit.curbed.com

This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, art, branding, business, cities, civics, culture, economic development, economic gardening, education, fun, geography, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, politics, revitalization, Small business, spatial design, sports, third places, tourism, Trade, transportation, Travel, urban planning, zoning and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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