Friday, April 23, 2010

Park in downtown Detroit earns honors

A 2.5-acre park in Detroit recently garnered national recognition as the first winner of the Urban Land Institute Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award. Campus Martius Park features extensive landscaping, moveable seating and an ice skating rink; attracts more than 2 million visitors each year; and spurred approximately $700 million of nearby development, including cafes, retail shops and corporate headquarters.

According to ULI:
The selection of Campus Martius Park illustrates the power of well-designed open space to make a tangible difference in the quality of life in urban areas, said award creator Amanda M. Burden, chair of the New York City Planning Commission, director of the New York Department of City Planning, and 2009 laureate of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. “This park has far exceeded all expectations, in terms of the lift it has provided to Detroit’s social and economic well-being,” Ms. Burden said.

“It reflects a creative, innovative approach to transforming an eyesore into a jewel. What makes Campus Martius Park work so well is that quite simply, it’s a place where people want to spend time. As a result, it’s a magnet for investment. That’s the definition of a successful urban open space.”

A $10,000 cash prize is being awarded to the Detroit 300 Conservancy, which originally developed the park as a legacy gift to the city. According to Detroit 300 Conservancy President Robert F. Gregory, the organization had unwavering faith in former Mayor Dennis Archer’s goal of building “one of the best public spaces in the world” in Detroit.
I'd like to think that the birds also find the park to be a great space amid the urban environment.



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