Urban planning students, faculty recognized by Michigan APA at conference for Detroit's Brightmoor area land-use plan

Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) recognized a team of urban and regional planning Taubman College alumni for their land use recommendations for Detroit’s Brightmoor area at the MAP annual conference Oct. 20-23, 2010, in downtown Detroit. The plan, entitled, “A Land Use Plan for Brightmoor,” was created winter semester 2008 and since then, many of the recommendations have been used.

Urban planning alumna Bonnie Wessler (M.U.P. ’08) accepted the award during the opening banquet on behalf of the student team that created the plan, which was written as part of a capstone course, taught by Professor Margaret Dewar and Lecturer Eric Dueweke.

The purpose of the land use plan was to guide decisions about land reuse and development in Brightmoor, Detroit, taking into consideration residents’ needs, market forces, current land uses, and existing infrastructure. The plan identified five planning areas within Brightmoor: residential areas to reinforce, residential areas to revitalize, residential areas ready for reinvention, parks, and retail. Each of these areas has a set of strategies to reach goals developed with the residents and leaders of Brightmoor.

The plan acknowledges that many organizations and the Detroit mayor’s office took particular interest in helping Brightmoor succeed. The Skillman Foundation designated Brightmoor as a Good Neighborhood; Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation identified Brightmoor as a Strategic Investment Area; and the City of Detroit chose Brightmoor as one of six focus areas for the Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative. The land use plan proposes strategies to coordinate these initiatives to create the Brightmoor that residents desire.

Besides Wessler, the M.U.P. 2008 graduates who developed the plan include:

  • Kimiko Doherty
  • Lisa Morris
  • Tim Parham
  • Sarah Powers
  • Erin Schumacher
  • Bonnie Wessler

About Brightmoor, according to the 2008 report:

Single-family residential is the dominant land use in Brightmoor. The condition of these properties ranges from well maintained homes to derelict houses and vacant lots. These mixed conditions reflect population trends. In 2000 the population of Brightmoor was about 25,000, a 14 percent decline from 1990. Brightmoor has many parks, both large and small, and two commercial corridors run through Brightmoor, along Fenkell Street and Schoolcraft Road.

Brightmoor has many assets. Home ownership rates are as high as 80 percent in some areas, while in others vacant land and buildings offer opportunities for reuse. The parks have great potential to become centers of activity for residents and act as regional draws. Commercial areas have the advantage of being located near roads with high levels of traffic. Although residents and community leaders cannot expect thousands of new residents to move to Brightmoor, they can channel resources to strengthen Brightmoor’s assets and strategically plan for a smaller and stronger future.

Follow this link (PDF 9.3MB) to read the full report.