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design ideas for livernois avenue and its communities The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture

A Publication of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture

Fall 2011

IDEAS FOR LIVERNOIS! design ideas for livernois avenue and its communities Instructor Virginia Stanard, Adjunct Professor of Architecture and Director of Urban Design at DCDC

Special Thanks Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC)

Students Ian Armstrong Brooke Ellis Monica Groblewska Liz Kreska Ross Piper John Quaine Scott Reynolds Ethan Sims Alison Suschak Evan Welch Trevor Wilson

Publication Design John Quaine

UDM Master of Community Development “Project Meerkat” Capstone Team

FOREWORD Will Wittig, Dean, School of Architecture University of Detroit Mercy The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture remains committed to living out the mission of the School and the University by providing valuable hands-on experiences for our students that also represent opportunities to serve the communities in which we live and work. Whether it is through the exploration of innovative ideas that are generated when our architecture students engage local community stakeholders in the studio, or through the expertise brought to bear through our Masters of Community Development program, or through the exemplary outreach services provided by our Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), we are always looking for ways to participate in the common effort of developing vibrant sustainable communities. The work illustrated here that resulted from the “Ideas for Livernois” studio represents an excellent example of collaboration among all three initiatives mentioned above, along with several external community organizations who supported the work, and numerous individual local stakeholders. The work of the studio, under the direction of Professor Stanard from the DCDC, demonstrates the power of a broad and open process that allows ideas to flourish using a coauthorship model that values different professional and academic disciplines along with local “on the ground” expertise. We hope that you find both the research and design ideas represented here to be engaging and inspiring. We are confident that the collaborative and inclusive community development model illustrated by this work will continue to bear fruit in our community. 01


This book features design ideas conceived by students from the University of Detroit Mercy’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center-sponsored studio for Detroit’s Livernois Avenue corridor and surrounding communities. This enthusiastic idea-filled guide illustrates imaginative yet viable possibilities for the area. These ideas represent the power of design through community collaboration, and ultimately, a call to action.


CONTENTS INTRO ideas for livernois

page 05


UNIVERSITY + COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS establishing connections between the universities and neighborhoods

page 20


REIMAGINING THE STRIP redesigning the streetscapes and commercial corridors

page 33


FILLING THE VOID activating underutilized spaces

page 46

EPILOGUE ideas for livernois

page 55


INTRO The ideas presented in this book are rooted in the mission of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, which is to provide quality design services through community-based design. Through this lens, the studio developed multi-layered strategies for the site, both urban and architectural, by using research, mapping, and stakeholder collaboration as the driving forces of design. The circumstance for this studio stemmed from the city-wide planning initiative, the Detroit Works Project (DWP), which is charged with improving the physical and economic landscape of Detroit, as the site sits within one of the three DWP demonstration areas for short-term interventions. Additionally, other ongoing planning and community initiatives in the area informed the ideas presented in this book.

Livernois Ave. Elevation

A combination of research, design projects, and community engagement tactics are featured in the following pages among major themes: University + Community Connections, Reimagining the Strip, and Filling the Void. This book serves as a testament to the power of design through community collaboration and also serves as a call to action. Livernois Ave. Street View


 
















6 3











# U

Palmer Park UDM


Marygrove College







Windmill Market

1 Neighborhood Index 1 Martin Park

5 Palmer Woods

2 Fitzgerald

6 Sherwood Forest

3 Bagley

7 Green Acres

4 University District

The overall site is grounded by Livernois Ave. and bounded by 8 Mile Rd. to the north, Woodward Ave. to the east, John C. Lodge Expy. to the south, and Wyoming St. to the west.



a set of circumstances for enticing possibilities


a possible course of action to improve parts of the built environment


Detroit Collaborative Design Center-Sponsored Design Studio University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture

Since 1994, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) has supported UDM’s commitment to engage the community by providing urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture services to over 80 Detroit communities, including the Livernois community adjacent to the university. DCDC’s annually sponsored undergraduate design studio is another way that the DCDC and the university engage Detroit’s communities. This year’s studio consisted of eleven students (shown clockwise above): Ross Piper, Ian Armstrong, John Quaine, Ethan Sims, Brooke Ellis, Liz Kreska, and (not shown): Monica Groblewska, Scott Reynolds, Alison Suschak, Trevor Wilson, and Evan Welch. 09

College Core Block Club Meeting Detroit Collaborative Design Center staff with members of Project Meerkat and the community


The Network Team The network team that contributed to the ideas presented in this book is comprised of various institutions, non-profit organizations, and local initiatives striving for a better physical, social, and economic environment in the Livernois corridor area. These groups include the University of Detroit Mercy’s Master of Community Development “Project Meerkat” Capstone Team and the Livernois Working Group, which includes representatives from University Commons, Marygrove College, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the City of Detroit, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and the University of Detroit Mercy. Each group played a unique role in partnership with the design studio, reinforcing the power of community collaboration in affecting change.


Bagley Neighborhood Tree Planting 12

Project Meerkat UDM Master of Community Development Capstone Team

The University of Detroit Mercy’s Master in Community Development (MCD) program takes a unique approach to the theory and practice of building sustainable communities by integrating human, organizational, physical, and economic development into its interdisciplinary curriculum. The MCD program offers ongoing opportunities for collaboration with the Architecture students. The “Project Meerkat” Capstone Team is a group dedicated to the Fitzgerald neighborhood, located within the design studio’s project site and between Marygrove College and the University of Detroit Mercy. The team worked closely with the design studio by sharing its Needs Assessment and research findings, offering feedback on design ideas, and organizing opportunities for interaction with neighborhood residents. For example, Project Meerkat organized a series of “Walkshops” with neighborhood residents to conduct physical analysis mapping and to ascertain the needs of the neighborhood.


Fitzgerald Neighborhood “Walkshop” 14

University Commons University Commons is a community organization comprised of neighborhood associations, Livernois Avenue businesses, Marygrove College, and the University of Detroit Mercy with the mission of improving the physical and economic condition of the Livernois/McNichols corridors and enhancing communication among stakeholders and public entities. The organization’s volunteer coordinator and member of the Livernois Working Group, Kimberly Varner Tandy, collaborated with the design studio by presenting a lecture, attending design reviews, and providing opportunities for service projects in the community. One such project was the clean-up of an alley behind the Livernois Avenue of Fashion. Design studio students spent a Saturday painting over graffiti, picking weeds and bagging leaves, and removing debris.


“Clean-Up Livernois” Event 16

Livernois Working Group University Commons, UDM, DCDC, Marygrove College, DEGC, City of Detroit, Wayne County EDGE, Bing Institute, MEDC, and MSHDA

The Livernois Working Group was formed in 2011 to help build the Livernois district’s capacity and to facilitate physical improvements along the commercial corridor. Livernois Working Group members collaborated with the design studio by providing feedback at design reviews. Additionally, a mutual research-sharing relationship was established allowing the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) to share its research findings with the students, and the students provided the DEGC with its mapping and analysis. Students also patronized local businesses and interviewed various business owners as part of their research phase.


Livernois Corridor Tour 18

UNIVERSITY + COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS establishing connections between the universities and neighborhoods


1 20


UNIVERSITY + COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS establishing connections between the universities and neighborhoods Situated in an urban context, the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College offer opportunities for overlap between campus and urban life. Because of these intersections, the University of Detroit Mercy and the School of Architecture in particular have sought to fulfill their duties as active participants in the context of their surrounding communities. In this chapter several students propose ideas to establish physical, economic, and symbolic connections between the University of Detroit Mercy and its surrounding neighborhoods and commercial corridors, with the intention of fostering stronger connections within a mixeduse urban network. Ideas such as off campus student housing and University gateways are explored by projects featured in University + Community Connections.


If each student spent



at local businesses each day...

million would go into the local economy annually

6,589 students!




Fitzgerald neighborhood

e Grov

The neighborhoods and commercial corridors in proximity to UDM offer multiple opportunities for housing, shopping, and recreation, yet these opportunities have not been fully realized or utilized by the University. Thus, several students sought ways to better link the University to Livernois Ave. and the surrounding neighborhoods, as shown on the following pages. Alison Suschak imagined off-campus student housing, retail, and community and green spaces across the street from UDM and adjacent to the Fitzgerald neighborhood. At UDM’s northwest corner Evan Welch proposed repurposing buildings and penetrating the current fenced condition with a public path, whereby encouraging accessibility and interaction between the students and community. Scott Reynolds designed a new University gateway entrance along Livernois Ave. linking the University to the Fitzgerald neighborhood. This includes a new entry marker, enhanced crosswalks and streetscaping, and median improvements.

n Flore

Off Campus Student Housing and Gateways


s s Ave nLioviernoi r e Liv


Livernois Circulation Diagram - Alison Suschak

Graves St.

Student Residences Green space Eat / Shop Livernois Ave.

Common Area Fitzgerald Neighborhood Fitzgerald Neighborhood



. Ave


University of Detroit Mercy University of Detroit Mercy

Ave rnois Live

Building Use Diagram - Alison Suschak

proposed building mixed use residential commercial vacancy institutional green space Building Use Plan Diagram - Alison Suschak


Building Use and Program Solar Panels DTE Incentive Program Second & Third Floor Residences Second & Third Floor Residences (1,080 SF) - 20 unitsSF) (1,080 - 4 bedrooms - -20 Units 2 story loft Living Room, 2 Bathrooms - -4Kitchen, Bedrooms - 2 Bathrooms - 2 Story Loft - Kitchen & Living Room

Transition Space Transition Space BetweenBetween University and Community (4,200 SF) University and Community - Green Space (4,200 SF) - Lounge Area & Recycling --- Trash Green SpaceServices Housing Office -- 2Lounge Area Story Main Entrance to ApartmentsServices - Trash & Recycling - Housing Office - 2 Story - Main Entrance to Apartments

First Floor Commercial First Floor Commercial (2,800 SF) -(2,800 Convenient Store SF) - Laundramat Convenient Store - Restaurant --Internet Cafe Laundromat - Student Resource Center Restaurant --Recycling Center - Internet Cafe - Student Resources - Recycling Center

Building Program Diagram - Alison Suschak


McNichols Rd.

Livernois Ave.

Jesuit Residence

Health Professions Facility

Commerce & Finance Building Briggs Building

Perspective toward UDM - Evan Welch

N Site Plan - Evan Welch

Perspective toward McNichols Rd. & Livernois Ave. - Evan Welch


Live Work Play

The site strategy developed by the Node Team identified nodes, or sites of activity and interaction, where users of the Livernois Ave. area are most likely to live, work, and play.

Node Team Site Strategy

University Gateway at Livernois Ave. & Grove St. - Scott Reynolds


The user group narratives that were created by students from interviews and research served as a basis for design by providing an understanding of how representative stakeholders use the environment for their everyday activities, and how they might want to use these spaces in the future.

Sample of User Group Narratives

Ivory and May

Wade Family



Elderly Couple Residents of Green Acres

Low-Income Renter in Bagley

Local Business Owner Resident of Sherwood Park

College Student Lives in Warren

Ivory and May have been residents of Green Acres for over 30 years. They are retired with no children. They often recall better days when the neighborhood was thriving, but they love their historic home and would never consider leaving. Ivory and May attend mass on Sunday’s at Gesu Catholic Church across the street from the University of Detroit Mercy. After church, they drive to Ferndale to eat breakfast but wish there were more restaurant options closer to home.

Sandra Wade is a single mother who rents a single family home in the Bagley neighborhood. She lives with her four year old daughter, Shantel, who she takes to day care before work. Sandra is a receptionist at a local hair salon on Livernois Avenue. She wishes there were more activities in the area that she could attend with Shantel. As a single mother working 40+ hours a week, Sandra complains that she has no social life.

Steve is new to the Livernois Area. He moved to Sherwood Forest in December and opened a local restaurant on Livernois Avenue. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy and wishes more students would dine at his restaurant. As a young entrepreneur, Steve is looking to open another business along Livernois that he believes would attract more students.

Stephanie is a sophomore at Marygrove College. She commutes about 30 minutes to class Monday through Friday from her home in Warren. After many hours of studying, Stephanie wishes she lived closer to school where she could just relax instead of driving home in traffic. In the coming years, she is hoping for more options for off-campus student housing in the area.













Grocery leakage constitutes 31% of grocery expenditures in the area—meaning full-service grocers are lacking supply of certain goods, and residents must make these grocery purchases outside of the area instead of investing in their neighborhood.














28.6 % Nearly 1/3 of homes in this area are rented. Source: Project Meerkat Neighborhood Survey

Incentivize the Blot “Blot,” a term coined by Interboro Partners, a New York City-based research and design group, is an “expanded lot” achieved through gradual accumulation of taking, borrowing, or buying one or more adjacent lots. This phenomenon is being acted out every day by thousands of self-interested homeowners in Detroit. Trevor Wilson’s project, featured on the following pages, adopts this contemporary planning practice as a viable option for the Fitzgerald Neighborhood. Here, the adaptive reuse of vacant homes into new student housing is incentivized. Also envisioned are rental incentive programs and new community spaces on adjacent blots. distressed





1991: The Anderanins owned one parcel.

1992: Jean A. bought the two adjacent parcels.

1999: Her son Michael Jr. purchased two more.

2002: Michael Jr. buys one more lot.

2004: The new Anderanin property: six parcels reconfigured as a walled garden

Michael R. Anderanin Jr. Michael R. Anderanin Jr. Jean Anderanin Jean Anderanin Michael R. Anderanin Jr. City of Detroit Donnie Evans Donnie Evans

Emile Crawley Emile Crawley Jr.

Jerome K. Christmas Sr. Jerome K. Christmas

Ocie Barnes Jr. Ocie Barnes Michael R. Anderanin Jr.

Diagram of Sample Blot Condition by Interboro Partners





W. Stoepel St. Photo Collage - Trevor Wilson






This diagram compares home vacancy rates among the nation, state, and city. The Livernois area is experiencing 22% vacancy, more in proportion to the nation and state, and the same percentage as the entire city of Detroit.

15% state-wide

Source: 2010 Detroit Census


8 Mile Rd.

Current $5,000 Employee Home Loan Incentive Area 7 Mile Rd.

od Wo

26 current UDM employees participating in this neighborhood


Incentives attract landlords to purchase and refurbish 5 homes for student housing allowing 30 students to live in this focus area.

UDM and Marygrove offer to buy back homes after the 20 year lease is up or current owners may continue to hold on to properties.

1 yr

5 yr

20 yr

Wyoming St.

Livernois Ave.

ve. rd A

Students lease properties from landlords, tenants, or alumni.

McNichols Rd.

Proposed $1,000 Student Rental Incentive Area


Student Rental Incentive = $1,000/year Employee Home Loan = $5,000 after 5 years of employment

Puritan St.

John C. Lodge Expy

Incentive Diagram and Timeline - Trevor Wilson

New play field at blot condition

Newly occupied house for students

Recreation Blot Along Stoepel St. - Trevor Wilson


2 33

REIMAGINING THE STRIP redesigning the streetscapes and commercial corridors



REIMAGINING THE STRIP redesigning the streetscapes and commercial corridors The “strip” condition, from traditional main streets to contemporary strip malls, has been a testing ground for reexamination and exploration over the last half century. As a conduit for the movement of people, goods, and information, the commercial strip corridor is the social and economic center for many neighborhoods and a thriving district for local shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. Livernois Ave., on the other hand, has suffered from disinvestment in recent years, though current plans and initiatives for the corridor offer hope for its revitalization. The student work included in the “Reimagining the Strip” chapter offers a multitude of design ideas for the corridor including economic strategies, facade improvements, creative reuse of spaces, and new methods of transportation. Ultimately, the projects featured in this chapter look to restore the neighborhood center as a social and economic hub and improve its connections to the surrounding neighborhoods and region.


St Martins Ave


Sherwood Forest Art Gallery Safis’s Hair Braiding African Market My Computer

Chubby’s Printing, Inc. Palmer Woods Preparatory School

Sherwood Hair & Nails Gallery For Lease Cheeks Colon Care

SHB Clothing

Palmer Woods Legal & Financial

Professional Racquet Services

Dolce’s Int’l Hair Salon


Children’s Apparel

1917 Bistro

L. Swygerts Salon

Black Star Community Book Store

For Rent

SimplyCasual Clothing Store

Outer Drive

Jo’s Gallery

The Cleaner’s


Sista 2 Sista

Helen’s Wig Salon

FAMA Import-Export

For Lease

Medical Rehabilitation

Livernois Ave.

Foxy Den

An analysis of the commercial uses on the Livernois Ave. “strip” reveals a heavy retail presence, though current residents and students, as well as entrepreneurs and customers outside of the area, note that there is a lack of options and that most of the businesses do not appeal to them.

Vacant Jerry’s Enchanted Gardens Ki & Jul’s Fashion Etc. Motown Portrait Photography


Livernois Ave

African Nubian Queens

Realty Tax Service Vacant H&R Block MOHA African Hair Braiding

Mike’s Market


Papa Romanos Pizzeria Forever YoungBeauty Supply United Good Housekeeper Terry’s Wigs & Lashes

Jade Garden D&T Nails African Fabric & Fashion Art on the Ave Shabach Bakery

Foot Locker Vacant


African Braids


Payless ShoeSource

retail vacant

Seven Mile Vacant




Opportunity Zone

London St.

Entertainment District

Thatcher St.

Art/Fashion District Santa Clara St.

Santa Maria Ave. Trucking/Shipping

Gas Station w/ Subway

McNichols Rd

Livernois Ave.

McDonalds Gas Station

Marygrove College


Gas Station

Cheesecake Shop

Gas Station Preschool Daycare

Nicky D’s

Grove St.

Greenlawn Ave.


Viable and imaginative strategies to support local commercial activity on the Livernois Ave. and McNichols Rd. corridors were developed by students, including major facade and streetscape improvements and mixeduse programming. Liz Kreska developed enhanced urban design standards for the McNichols Traditional Main Street Overlay area to improve the appearance, safety, and accessibility of the corridor, including the detailed façade improvements shown in the elevation below. Ross Piper developed the “Livernois Connection Card,” an incentive program offering free shuttle service along McNichols and Livernois and discounts to selected businesses along Livernois Ave. (right).


Florence Ave.


Fairfield St.

Commercial Strategies

Livernois & McNichols Corridor Team Site Strategy


dark streets

street and business lighting create safer walkable streets


architectural details

facade detail is covered or removed from facade

maintain existing architecture for antiquity



opaque walls

boarded windows

windows provide sunlight and views into the businesses

upper levels look to promote vivacity

cannot see into establishment

doors are transparent

Baker’s Jazz Club - 20% off 1917 American Bistro - 15% off O’Kelly’s Bar - 20% off The Endzone Bar and Grill - 20% off Brown Dog Pub - 20% off Corner Cafe - 20% off The Sport Coffee Shop - 15% off Leo’s Tunes - 20% off Mobile Oil - 25% off China Wok - 15% off Boston Market - 15% off Rite-Aid - 10% off

.+8'401+5%100'%6+10%#4& Ride the Shuttle Bus for Free and Receive 5WRRQTVNQECNDWUKPGUUGUYKVJVJKU Discounts at Local Businesses FKUEQWPVECTFCPFTGEGKXGURGEKCNQHHGTU


Papa John’s - 15% off Bosco’s Fish - 15% off Pied Piper Market - 10% off Savon Foods - 10% off Mike’s Market - 15% off Nicky D’s Coney - 15% off Sherwood Forrest Coney - 15% off FootLocker - 10% off Papa Romano’s Pizza - 15% off Shuttle Free ShuttleBus BusAdmission admission--FREE Mon - Fri through Friday Monday

DCEM Connection Card - Ross Piper

second story condition

ads cheapen the facade

limit ads, use simple, generic names



tells potential customers to stay away

unclear point of entry

soften barrier using vegetation, promotes safety and attractive

signage makes it easy to read from street and sidewalk

Proposed Elevation of McNichols Corridor - Liz Kreska



distance, time

.5 mi, 10 minutes

The distance between destinations and the poor street and sidewalk infrastructure in the area make walking and biking difficult, undesirable, and/or time-consuming for many, generating a need to improve the non-motorized connections in the area.

2.5 mi, 48 minutes

2.8 mi, 55 minutes

8 Mile Rd.



75 7 Mile Rd.

Marygrove College

e. Av rd wa od Wo

McNichols Rd.

Livernois Ave.


Palmer Park


Windmill Market

John C. Lodge Fwy.

y. Fw n o vis Da Pedestrian Mobility Map


Streetscape Design The current streetscape condition of major corridors in Detroit such as Livernois Ave., McNichols Rd., and Outer Dr. privileges the automobile. The streets are generally uninviting for other forms of urban movement such as biking and walking. The following projects speculate on future possibilities for a streetscape infrastructure that celebrates multiple forms of movement, as well as spaces of pause and gathering. Monica Groblewska (below and opposite page) designed a linear park within the median of W. Outer Dr. connecting the Bagley Neighborhood to Livernois Ave. and culminating in a new public plaza and performance space. Ian Armstrong’s project (right) imagined a sunken plaza at W. McNichols Rd. and Prairie St. that would serve as a space for gathering and viewing projections.


Sunken Plaza at McNichols Rd. and Prairie St. - Ian Armstrong

Outer Drive Public Plaza & Performance Space - Monica Groblewska

Outer Drive Median Park - Monica Groblewska


Streetscape Design (continued) The incorporation of new, mixed-use programming complements the streetscape improvements in Ian Armstrong’s project which is anchored by a new greenway along W. McNichols Rd. between UDM and Marygrove College. Proposed upper level housing units with ground floor retail frame the greenway corridor. Parking is provided at the perimeter of the site to make the area more easily accessible to pedestrians. The greenway assumes a narrowing of W. McNichols Rd. through the creation of bike paths and widened sidewalks in addition to new crosswalks and solar street lighting.

site housing existing new parking

McNichols Rd. Site Plan - Ian Armstrong

mixed use parking green space

Site Organization Diagram - Ian Armstrong

Cross Section “B” of McNichols Rd. - Ian Armstrong


The site strategy developed by the Network Team illustrates several existing and potential nodes of activity, or “activity spaces,” where multiple transit routes and neighborhood assets overlap. These spaces are opportunities for physical improvement and programmatic activation.

Network Team Site Strategy activity space non-motorized route bus stop / route asset / driving force

8 Mile

Baker’s Lounge

Woodlawn Cemetary

Joe Louis Park

ard odw Wo

1917 Bistro

UofD Jesuit Seven Mile

Mike’s Market


o Wo ard Palmer Park



University of y Detroit Mercy


ton mil Ha

Marygrove College


ve Marygrove College


Wyoming McNichols

Emma Stark Hampton Middle School


Windmill Farmer’s Market


FILLING THE VOID activating underutilized spaces


3 46


FILLING THE VOID activating underutilized spaces Detroit is a rich and unique landscape interwoven with a host of open spaces, often underutilized. While the open spaces may seem overwhelming or perhaps insurmountable for many, if activated through incremental, small-scale improvements, they could become tremendous opportunities for public interaction and assembly, as well as economic revitalization. Such interventions offer a phased approach to instigating change while providing local solutions for local challenges. This chapter contains short and long term projects that offer opportunistic solutions for underutilized spaces in the Livernois Ave. area such as Windmill Market, Palmer Park, and the alleys behind the commercial corridor. Featured design ideas include new community gardens, sports courts, bus stops, terraced landscapes, public spaces in alleys, and an iconic gateway created from salvaged materials as activators of open space in Detroit.


Commercial 5% Institutional 3% Industrial 1% The city of Detroit has almost as much open space as the entire city of San Francisco (below). Open space accounts for 18% of the land area in the Livernois Ave. area (left) which provides a great opportunity for new and/or revitalized uses.

Infrastructure 11%

Open Space 18%

Housing 62%

Source: “Reviving Livernois Avenue as a Thriving Urban Main Street,� Urban Land Institute Study, 2011

Detroit Open Space



San Francisco

40.00 sq. miles

18.47 sq. miles

22.96 sq. miles

46.69 sq. miles

Dan Pitera, DCDC


Windmill Market              

Proposed Program Diagram - Ethan Sims

Community Garden lightly uses temporary vacant land and provides fresh produce.


Community Center can host events and double as a bus stop for long waits.

Market Rendering - Ethan Sims

Adaptable basketball court gives youth a place to hang out. Terraces form seating.

Terraces become a place to gather, play, and host civic events.

Light boxes create atmosphere and heightened sense of security. Market Section - Ethan Sims


Palmer Park            

Palmer Park

Palmer Park at Woodward Ave. - Brooke Ellis


3 Different Driveways to the Park

North South East West

Unnecessary Median 7 branches to a single interesection

Existing Park Entry Circulation Challenges Diagram

North South East West

Proposed Vehicular Circulation Diagram

Aerial View of Landmark Structure - Brooke Ellis


The Public Alley






Av e


          


ile R



Site Plan / Circulation Diagram - John Quaine

Rendering of Alley behind Livernois Ave. Commercial Strip – John Quaine


EPILOGUE Virginia Stanard, Instructor Urban design studios are a powerful tool with which to confront the compelling conditions of post-industrial cities like Detroit. And while Detroit’s problems have for years been the subject of study and media attention, rather than dwell of these, the “Ideas for Livernois” studio focused on the assets and opportunities of a particular area of the city and demonstrated that solutions do not come from any one constituency but through synergies of collaboration. The result is a plausible optimism for the area through projects that are grounded in the realities of the urban experience and offer solutions at all scales, from the abandoned house to the struggling retail block. In this way these projects encourage the development of mixed-use commercial corridors, create a variety of places for public life, and shape an equitable environment for a broad crosssection of users. The most interesting aspect of this exploration was the simultaneous viability of the proposals and the interplay that emerged among the thematic groups: University + Community Connections, Reimagining the Strip, and Filling the Void. Rather than being viewed as different projects and solutions, the ideas are seen as components of a composite solution that deal with the broader issues of livability and community in Detroit’s neighborhoods. This prompted the studio to compile the projects into a celebratory exhibition that triggered discussions about how the area can be re-imagined as well as this document which compiles the proposals into an “idea-filled guide.” The exhibit and publication are aimed at making the Livernois Corridor area re-enter the imagination of the stakeholders of Detroit. We hope that by providing creative planning and design that complements ongoing efforts in the Livernois Corridor and its surrounding communities, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture can help sustain the momentum for the revitalization of this area, both in its neighborhoods and commercial corridors.


Ideas for Livernois! Exhibit University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture

The “Ideas for Livernois!� exhibit featured the collaborative visions for Livernois Avenue and its surrounding communities. The public event brought together students, faculty members, residents, city planners, design professionals, and local business owners to consider the possibility of these design ideas. Above all, the exhibit prompted discussions about further opportunities for collaboration.




Acknowledgments UDM School of Architecture

Will Wittig Fr. Gilbert Sunghera Stephen Vogel

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

Dan Pitera Christina Heximer Krista Wilson Mike Jacobs

UDM Master of Community Development

Dr. Montie Garraway Steve Gay Ahmad Kronfol Debbie Tropf-Threloff

Livernois Working Group: University Commons Detroit Economic Growth Corporation


Kimberly Tandy Olga Stella Michael Forsyth

Hamilton Anderson Associates

Dan Kinkead James Fidler

UDM Dichotomy

Noah Resnik Kaitlynn Young Shurid Rahman


Christian Unverzagt

Ross Piper Photography

Ross Piper

University of Det r oit M er c y Sc hool of Ar c h i t e c t u r e 40 01 W. M c Nic hols Rd. Det r oit , M I 4822 1 t ec t ur e. udm er c y. edu

Ideas for Livernois and Its Communities  

This work exhibits a collaboration among local stakeholders, the DCDC, and students from the School of Architecture’s undergraduate design s...

Ideas for Livernois and Its Communities  

This work exhibits a collaboration among local stakeholders, the DCDC, and students from the School of Architecture’s undergraduate design s...