West Riverfront Park is a bold vision for a neighborhood-oriented park that has been led by one of the most robust community engagement processes ever executed.
The Detroit River—swift and deep—is one of the region’s most powerful landscapes and has a long history as a place for industry, labor, leisure, and civic gathering. However, despite Michigan’s close relationship to the Great Lakes, Detroit lacks a tangible, dramatic, and multifaceted experience of the water. The present-day river’s edge is monotonous and monofunctional. The proposal for West Riverfront Park is a vision for the site that is as diverse, inventive, and community-minded as the city’s population. At the heart of our proposal is a new inlet, the Cove, which will give park visitors an immediate connection to the pristine water of the Great Lakes. The Cove will replace segments of the ubiquitous riverfront railing with greater variety, including marine walls for fishing, planted rock embankments with informal seating, a stormwater treatment landscape, and a beach with a view to the Ambassador Bridge. Activities like wading and ice skating will allow visitors to interact with water in all seasons. The park will also anchor informal cross-cultural communities based around marine activities, including fishing and boating.