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Located on the west side of Detroit’s Central Business District, Beacon Park was created to anchor an emerging district, spur economic growth within the neighborhood, and provide a high-quality gathering space for Detroiters and beyond.
Beacon Park was conceived and built by DTE, a utility company that provides electric service to 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The project began as an effort to clean up a vacant parcel in the neighborhood where the corporation is headquartered. Initially, the plan was to install a “pop-up” park until a suitable redevelopment could take place.
Through an inclusive engagement process, the vision grew into a permanent square located at the corner of Grand River, one of downtown’s five radiating arteries, and Cass Avenue. The park serves as a gateway to downtown, and includes a circular open lawn that is the largest in downtown Detroit—giving residents and workers room to run, play, relax, and recharge.
The design led by landscape architects living LAB and architects Touloukian Touloukian includes a flexible-use modern-style building that contrasts with surrounding historic buildings. It is home to the restaurant Lumen, offering New American fare in an open-air setting. The park’s year-round programming consists of concerts, sports, night markets, interactive art installations, and community events and is managed by the Detroit Downtown Partnership, a local nonprofit. Beacon Park’s dynamic backdrop is the city’s skyline, and Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan said, “The transformation of this space is nothing short of remarkable.”
Beacon Park testifies to the power of a public space to revitalize a neighborhood. This part of downtown had been full of vacancies and parking lots, leaving residents feeling isolated from the rest of the city’s regenerating downtown core. The park is a catalyst for $140 million in redevelopment in the immediate vicinity, including the neighboring Leland apartments, which will be converted to 340 affordable and market-rate apartments. Beacon Park’s energy is transforming the surrounding neighborhood, revitalizing a long-languishing part of downtown, and creating a welcoming entrance to the city’s core.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is one of the best-preserved historic cities in America, and architecturally sensitive redevelopment has fueled an economic revival of downtown since the 1970s.
South Jordan, Utah
The design of Daybreak Mews in South Jordan, Utah, was driven by a need to provide attainable housing—achieved by efficiently using 3.2 acres on the interior of two blocks within walking distance of a light rail station.
Mexico City, Mexico
The 7.4-mile-long Canal Nacional served as the main transportation waterway during the construction of Mexico City more than 2,000 years ago, and since the has been a conduit of vital supplies, from food to construction materials.