Once the Ford Michigan Central station’s historic train shed, the Mobility Platform open space will offer unparalleled opportunities to observe and engage in the district’s state of the art testing and innovation. Smart sustainability measures are woven throughout the vision plan, with dynamic green storm water management systems and a collection of distributed energy generating interventions. These vibrant reflections of the community come together with a biodiverse landscape that has 400 new trees and a multi-acre stormwater amenity to create a sustainable district that provides refuge and inspiration for Detroit residents and visitors. This district wide landscape vision transforms one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods into an inclusive, vibrant, and walkable destination that brings together the best minds to help shape the future of global mobility. Smart resilient measures are woven throughout the campus with integrated green infrastructure that offers visitors a place to engage the natural world and recharge. Clean energy systems with wind and solar farms define the Eastern district, demonstrating the potential for distributed energy systems throughout the region and beyond. Historically in a heavy industrial city that has deep roots in the auto industry like Detroit often are predominantly minority occupied. The goal of this project is to integrate human health issues with ecological resiliency- bringing health equity into this vision plan to reshapes this neighborhood. By doing so, issues of air, lighting, and noise pollution that have been shown to effect species migration and human healthfulness. The city’s particle pollution places the health of the residents at risk – with people of color more likely to live in a county with polluted air. The landscape vision builds healthier social infrastructure by connecting people with each other as neighbors and innovators, and by bringing the community closer to regional natural systems. Tree equity is addressed in this vision plan with over 400 new trees, and community based microforest plantings which introduce new urban habitat patches along with over 2 acres of biodiverse green stormwater systems. This vision plan weaves human health equity together with sustainable and biodiverse planning strategies to transform the neighborhood into a healthful home and destination for humans and non-humans alike. A network of walking trails, urban paths and an innovation boulevard guide visitors through the site and connect neighbors to this central innovation hub. To the south, a solar field and pollinator garden welcome visitors with an onsite trail that connects to the established Detroit River Greenway Trail system and the Detroit River. Early research with the community and local non-profits in programming and analysis of various contiguous parks within a 15-minute walk of this district was an important foundation for complementary and supporting programming within this district. Dynamic Green Storm Water Systems: Technology and ecology come together in this district wide vision plan to create a multi-layered dynamic stormwater system. Integrated into the fabric of this highly urban site, vegetated areas and permeable paving come together with rain gardens, seasonal detention pools, and nearly 400 new trees to create a diverse and distributed network of green stormwater infrastructure. Designed to easily manage a 100-year storm event, the vision plan increases permeability and infiltration with various stormwater management tools throughout the district. Biodiversity & Resilience through Patch Ecologies: The Michigan Central Open Space Vision plan planting strategy takes inspiration from the state's diverse native ecologies. Studies of topography, exposure, and intended use, lead the design team to locate this assemblage of reference habitats which come together to create a patch work of ecologies. Microhabitats, resembling their natural counterparts establish an urban wild that expands and contracts, balancing a call for native wilderness (and the ecosystem services that come with it), with a safe and welcoming urban environment. These diverse patches reach beyond the aesthetic to provide a rich multi-sensory experience, and enhanced thermal comfort across all seasons. This patch ecology strategy utilizes open-source tree data and environmental modeling to rank the tree species selection by ecosystem service performance, taking into account carbon sequestration, stormwater runoff mitigation, air pollutant removal and thermal comfort properties to create a more informed design approach. Clean energy & habitat systems come together on the Eastern end of the district with nearly 2 acres of pollinator gardens integrated into the solar field, helping to contribute to the global food web and weaving in a biodiverse landscape into this clean energy threshold. The district wide plan creates connected regional habitats that increases food production and converts industrial impervious ground into forests and wetlands. A New Sustainable and Innovative District: Ford’s Michigan Central Landscape vision plan connects the neighborhoods to this inclusive and innovative district to help shape the future of smart mobility and resiliency within the city. Community health issues are interwoven with an ecological ethos bringing together human and ecological resiliency as we look towards a post-pandemic world. Michigan Central’s Landscape Vision Plan will be a nexus for equitable innovation that connects neighborhoods with a tapestry of smart sustainable technologies, diverse ecosystems and a first of its kind mobility platform.
Our work brings health and well-being to our global environment and local neighborhoods. As designers of restorative landscapes, we address some of the most pressing environmental and health related issues that face us today. We do this through our research-both in human cognition and in green storm water technologies. Our goal is to create bespoke experiences that improve civic health by drawing people outside and engaging the natural world.
Twenty years ago, we began with a focus on human centered design, striving to make the city healthier and more inclusive. Today, our evidence based design work engages communities and landscapes across the spectrum. From waterfronts and workplaces to public gardens and healthcare centers, we are interested in bringing restoration and wonder to the everyday experience.