DTE Energy Campus and Neighborhood Master Plan

2018

DTE Energy

Detroit, MI


Project Team: 

Interboro Partners (Tobias Armborst, Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore, Katherine Isidro, Andrew Wald, Odili Onochie), SmithgroupJJR

The SmithgroupJJR + Interboro team was asked by DTE Energy to rethink their campus and the neighborhood around it. Working closely with DTE, we developed a two-pronged approach to engagement by involving stakeholders in the shaping of the master plan who:


1. Provide the input and knowledge that comes from knowing a place (contribute expertise) - Establish a creative process to access the strengths and weaknesses of the existing campus and neighborhood that informed the short-term goals of the master plan.


2. Participate in the creative process of making the plan (collaborate) - Initiate a collaborative, theme-based visioning process to develop and solicit input on long-range futures for the campus and neighborhood.


We conducted 3 outreach activities: 

  • Positive Energy Survey
  • Stakeholder Focus Groups
  • Workshops 


The input we received from these activities helped us identify specific priorities, projects, and actions that were then combined into a holistic master plan. As a way to introduce the master plan to the neighborhood and greater Downtown Detroit, we are currently working on short-term place-making projects that will temporarily activate vacant lots in the neighborhood. These place-making projects reflect the larger themes of the master plan and will evolve into more permanent public spaces in the future development of the neighborhood.

Positive Energy Survey


What we wanted to know:

  • Who spends time in Downtown Detroit?
  • What do people like to do Downtown?
  • When do people spend time in Downtown Detroit?
  • How do people get to and around Downtown?
  • Why do people choose to live Downtown (or not)?


  • What would make Downtown a better place to work?
  • What would make Downtown a better place to visit?
  • What would make Downtown a better place to live?


Who we reached:

  • Public at the Dec. 9th Ugly Sweater Party at Beacon Park
  • DTE employees
  • GSA/Government employees


520 surveys were completed!

Positive Energy T-shirts worn by our team members during the Ugly Sweater Party

Positive Energy Survey cards were handed out during the Ugly Sweater Party and other engagement outings that directed people to a website where they could take the survey online

Survey results organized by participant groups

Workshops


Four broad themes emerged during our outreach and engagement process. We visualized each theme to prompt focused discussion about the future of the DTE Energy neighborhood. We presented these themes to several stakeholder groups and asked them to consider each one. By considering each theme in isolation, we identified specific priorities, projects, and actions that can be combined into a holistic master plan.

Workshop participants providing feedback on the themes and identifying priority projects

Theme One: Green Circuit


The Green Circuit builds on the existing “emerald necklace” of green spaces that exists in Detroit. The DTE campus serves as one of the green charms along a network of green streets and spaces that connects Downtown Detroit.

Theme Two: Complete Downtown


Completed Downtown extends the character of the Downtown core to the DTE campus and neighborhood by completing the street walls, strengthening the corridors, and offering Downtown amenities like places to socialize, eat and drink. 

Theme Three: New Neighborhood


This theme envisions a new residential neighborhood that fills in the gap between other Detroit neighborhoods with its own unique identity. This neighborhood would offer a variety of housing types and densities.

Theme Four: Energy Incubator


This theme envisions the DTE campus and neighborhood as a radically new typology in Detroit - the Energy Incubator - with an emphasis on technology, research, and innovation with DTE at the heart of it.

Placemaking Projects


As a way to introduce the master plan to the neighborhood and greater Downtown Detroit, we are currently working on short-term place-making projects that will temporarily activate vacant lots in the neighborhood. These place-making projects reflect the larger themes of the master plan and will evolve into more permanent public spaces in the future development of the neighborhood.


We’ve developed 6 place-making projects:

  • DTE Forecourt
  • 2nd St Pedestrian Path
  • Beacon Park Urban Edge
  • Michigan Ave Gateway Park
  • 3rd St Outdoor Gym
  • Jogging Loop


Each project was judged on 4 criteria:

  • Identity
  • Impact
  • Investment
  • Implementability

Timeline outlining the placemaking project process

Map of peacemaking projects

Planning