RecoveryPark is a non-profit organization established in 2010 with an explicit mission to launch sustainable, food-based businesses in the urban core of Detroit. HAA provided a master plan and implementation strategy to understand and evaluate new opportunities for the 100-acre site to serve as a valuable agricultural space, an employment and educational opportunity, and a community gathering place.
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Architecture / Planning / Urban Design / Site Design / 2017


Blue-green infrastructure is an integral part of the RecoveryPark concept, functioning as the life blood of the site by moving water north to south through the property. "

RecoveryPark creates job opportunities for Detroit’s residents and helps returning citizens and challenged workers return to the work force while growing fresh vegetables for local restaurants. HAA worked with the organization to develop a strategy that leverages the city’s underutilized assets: a large available workforce, abundant open space, access to fresh water, extensive infrastructure and a wide array of manufacturing and technology companies.

The master plan respects the urban grid while returning vacant land to productive use. Glass greenhouses, high tunnels, streets and blue-green infrastructure are intrinsically linked to create the urban farming neighborhood. Runoff from the building roofs flows to small bioswales on side streets, then to larger bioswales running north-south through the site. Some streets are modified to a combined, open typology that emphasizes all users from pedestrians to vehicles.

Existing businesses on Chene Street, the site’s former active commercial spine, will provide anchors for future commercial developments. In the meantime, Chene’s vacant lots are planted with three-deep rows of flowering ornamental trees that provide a beautiful temporary streetwall. The former St Stanislaus campus provides administrative and educational space, services, and temporary housing for RecoveryPark. It connects to the Environmental campus — a demonstration, education, and gathering space attached to the renovated Historic Chene Ferry Market to the south. The Market is renovated with food related, educational, retail and restaurant opportunities based on a farm to market model.

Recreational trails are integrated into the bioswales, connecting to adjacent greenways and neighborhoods. Perrian Park provides an opportunity to creatively illustrate the function of blue-green infrastructure in a public setting. Large-scale natural forms echo the overall site scale and concept. Additional housing for associates is located close to amenities, services, and bus routes. Housing options include multi-family renovations, new small home prototypes and new infill construction.


  • Architecture
  • Planning / Urban Design
  • Site Design


  • Historic / Reuse
  • Housing
  • Idea / Concept
  • Parks / Recreation


  • Architecture
  • Blue / green infrastructure
  • Community Engagement
  • Design Guidelines
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Master Planning
  • Planning
  • Programming
  • Site Design
  • Stormwater Management
  • Sustainable Design
  • Urban Design




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