DetroitPhoto Du Jour

Replanning Downtown Detroit – Part 3 of 8

Section “B” on the map:

Offices of Eberle M. Smith Associates, Inc., Architects Engineers represented by:
Edward Hammarskjold, Charles W. Scurlock

1 Housing
2 Bus terminal and parking
3 Warehouses
4 Office buildings
5 Volunteer services building
6 Board of health
7 Hospital nursing unit
8 Hospital research unit
9 Hospital housing unit
10 Doctors’ office building
11 Recorders court
12 Detroit Police Department
13 Police school
14 Wayne County Jail
* Note – #15 was not listed in the original text *
16 Wholesale flower building
17 Transportation building
18 City-County building
19 Federal building
20 Wayne Univ. Medical School
21 University of Detroit
22 Museum of Religious History


Although presently made up of decaying warehouses, sheds, shops, and parking lots surrounded by obsolescent hospitals and government and college buildings, this portion of the central business district retains an important functional role in the plan for revitalizing the downtown area. Including, as it does, elements of city and county judicial facilities; teaching hospitals importantly related to the Wayne University Medical School; and the downtown campus of the University of Detroit;
all badly needing room for expansion and situated strategically between the central commercial area and Detroit’s major urban renewal project, Lafayette Park, the area already possesses the important elements vital to its future life and growth.


With the section north of Gratiot designated for housing, the southern portion would include:

A Expanded city and governmental facilities, including county jail and courthouse additions, sheriff’s office, community voluntary services and various other social agencies.

B New hospital, medical research and professional office facilities to replace and augment the present obsolete and inadequate units in the area.

C New commercial offices, primarily legal, occupying an important position related to the city and county administration, the judicial area, and the financial district to the west.

D Expanded facilities for the University of Detroit downtown campus and cooperatively operated extension classrooms and laboratories for Michigan’s three major Universities.

E A transportation center and central airlines terminal building related to the new bus terminal and Detroit-Windsor tunnel entrance.


In the past and, unfortunately, in too much of present redevelopment and urban renewal, one receives the impression that the only aim has been to eliminate the automobile, without making a significant contribution of the elements that delight the senses.

If, in a basically urban environment, the planner can provide the visual and aural pleasures of splashing fountains and waterfalls; the spatial interest of bridges or changes in level, of ramps and stairs; the visual delight of trees, grass, flowers and, especially, of other people enjoying these pleasures, he will have made the man-made environment into an environment peculiarly fit for man.

This study is an attempt to suggest one such environment. From an area north of Gratiot Avenue conceived as buildings in a setting of green space to the part south of that line where one finds green spaces in a setting of buildings, a stream or canal makes the connection. In the area west of the apartments, the displaced warehouses and florists’ markets find a new home in and surrounding a plaza accessible only to the pedestrian. In the more densely built up institutional area, no person is more than a few seconds walk from trees, benches, and flowing, splashing water. The traveler or visitor arriving from outside the city would receive a pleasant and delightful introduction to the city, and the Detroiter himself would have an important basis for civic pride.

View from Gratiot looking south

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