Michigan Department of Natural Resources


Milliken State Park and Harbor

Detroit, Michigan

31 acres, 13 hectares

Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Programming, Urban Planning and Design

Merit Award -- Landscape Planning & Analysis

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For the past 10 years, SmithGroupJJR has worked closely with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to plan, design and construct Michigan's first urban state park in downtown Detroit. A key part of the East Riverfront redevelopment, Milliken State Park replaces abandoned industrial sites with a public promenade and overlooks, a 52-slip transient marina, and a range of recreational uses and amenities.

SmithGroupJJR's phase two design for Lowland Park recreates the riparian wetlands that once bordered the Detroit River. The only wetland community within Detroit's urban core, Lowland Park has made ecological restoration and education a key part of the urban fabric while naturally cleansing stormwater run-off.

Following completion of Lowland Park, the DNR updated its long-range master plan for the site. SmithGroupJJR's team took a unique approach to the plan update, blending market analysis and interpretive planning into the overall park programming. The firm is currently updating the master plan in preparation for designing the third phase of park construction: a multi-use path extending the Detroit RiverWalk experience.

Related Content

8 Keys to Urban Ecological Design
Article on eight approaches leading to more successful ecological design solutions.
Icon-pdf 8Keys.pdf

Milliken State Park LAF Performance Series Case Study
See Lowland Park's performance metrics and benefits on Landscape Architecture Foundation site.