Campus Martius

Detroit, MI

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

This new civic square has brought life back downtown Detroit.

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Why It Works

The recent transformation of the main intersection in downtown Detroit into a spectacular civic square is one of the great stories of urban regeneration in America. This city-defining move, undertaken by the non-profit Detroit 300, would have been remarkable anywhere, but in Detroit--which is beset by more problems than any major city in North America--it was particularly daring and exceptional. Using Campus Martius to redefine the downtown around a central square was ingenious precisely because most other cities would have gone a different route, like building a costly development project. Instead, Detroit chose this modest but revolutionary way to start with the city center.

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