The City of Detroit is launching a design competition in the Morningside neighborhood that aims to design and build a new central park for that community, replacing a decommissioned park that will be sold to adjoining residents.
Give a Park, Get a Park will accept qualifications from interested designers between June 19 and July 31. The city is particularly interested in receiving Qualifications from Detroit- and Michigan-based emerging design professionals and design students. Applicants can register and learn more at gapgapdetroit.org.
Give a Park, Get a Park (GAPGAP) is a pilot program, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, designed to ‘give a park’ — by selling a half-acre mid-block, decommissioned mini-park to adjacent community residents for private use through the city’s side lot program – and, in exchange, allowing the entire community to “get a park” of high-quality, innovative design in a more accessible location. The new parks are to be built on a community engagement process giving residents increased financial equity and a physical stake in the future of their neighborhoods.
“We know that great neighborhood parks are a critical amenity for retaining families with children in our neighborhoods,” said Maurice D. Cox, director of the City’s Planning and Development Department. “This competition seeks to explore innovative strategies that will maximize the value in the patchwork of publicly owned lands and improve the quality of life in Detroit’s neighborhoods.
“Morningside is a vibrant neighborhood on the east side that lacks a vibrant park within walking distance of families. The competition is part of our effort to allow residents to direct the future of their neighborhood.”
The decommissioned park sits on the north border of the Morningside neighborhood, along the I-94 freeway.
The new park will be located on a larger 1.5 acre parcel of land more centrally located in the neighborhood, comprised of vacant, city-owned corner lots less than a mile from the former park at the corners of Three Mile Drive and Munich, with additional lots and some existing park infrastructure included in the design process.
Give a Park, Get a Park design participants will work with neighbors, ensuring a community engagement effort that asks Detroit residents what they want to see in their neighborhoods and mirrors the greater planning strategy for the city. The competition will connect some of the region’s brightest designers to the community as they work together to create better, more accessible park amenities for all. A primary goal of the competition is “sustainability,” to minimize maintenance costs.
Designers will have the opportunity to tackle a number of additional disciplines, from traffic control, to park security to incorporating existing park infrastructure installed by the community. The end result will be a space for community art, murals, and public gatherings that celebrates the neighborhoods’ unique character.
The competition will conclude with a community design review of participant entries in late summer, with winning designs announced in fall 2017. An individual or team of up to 3 individuals may register and compete. First place design winners will receive a prize of $10,000, second place will receive a prize of $5,000 and third place will receive a prize of $2,500.
Funded as a winning project in the Knight Foundation’s Cities Challenge Grant competition, this is the second of three national Cities Challenge awards won by the City’s Planning and Development Department.