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detwaa84

Hart Plaza Greener?!?

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One, I hope they don't change the name, except for the "plaza." Hart Park or Square is better. and two, by adding more grass, I hope they mean flowers, bushes, shrubs, etc. I've said it before and I'll say it again, plain grass doesn't belong in non-natural parks in urban areas. This is a man made park and needs to look more like Millennium Park in Chicago. Greenery doesn't simply mean grass, but tress, flowers, etc. Concrete is much better than grass, except it should have above ground "beds" that dot the entire plaza or park, just like the new "carousel" park on the riverfront. The picture below shows what I mean by "beds" and the greenery.

chicago_Lurie_016.jpg

Millennium Park, Chicago.

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I think I prefer the name Hart Plaza to either Hart Park or Hart Square. But I do agree that they need to make it more like Millenium park. That place is phenominal and really well designed. Hopefully the design of the new stage area will have some architectural significance much like Gehry's bandshell.

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http://wwj.com/pages/322511.php?contentTyp...ontentId=387900

One, I hope they don't change the name, except for the "plaza." Hart Park or Square is better. and two, by adding more grass, I hope they mean flowers, bushes, shrubs, etc. I've said it before and I'll say it again, plain grass doesn't belong in non-natural parks in urban areas. This is a man made park and needs to look more like Millennium Park in Chicago. Greenery doesn't simply mean grass, but tress, flowers, etc. Concrete is much better than grass, except it should have above ground "beds" that dot the entire plaza or park, just like the new "carousel" park on the riverfront. The picture below shows what I mean by "beds" and the greenery.

chicago_Lurie_016.jpg

Millennium Park, Chicago.

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I disagree. Europe has some awesome and huge concrete and/or stone plazas that work very well. It's how they are designed that matters, not the material, alone. Hart Plaza isn't fully utilized, no doubt, but I wouldn't place it all on the material of the plaza, at all. There are some great concrete/stone plaza and some bad ones, some terribly set up greenspace and some amazing urban greenspaces.

BTW, I didn't see any mention of changing the designation of plaza to park, so I don't think we even have to worry about that. I also like the idea that they are looking to put a destination restaurant in the park. It can be done is a careful and classy way.

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Hart Plaza is a product of its time, and I think it's ugly as hell.

I do agree with LMich though. You can make a concrete (or shall I say paved) plaza work. Look at the GM promenade for example. It's all paved, but people like to gather there because it has interesting features. The terraces, the light up map, the fountains make it a nice place to be.

Take notice of where all the people gather in Hart Plaza. They sit on the concrete planters and the wall along the river, but they don't go anywhere else. Some additional greenery would be nice, but the front half of Mllenium park has just as much greenery as Hart Plaza. It's just that Chicago takes better care of the place than Detroit has ever done. I think maintenance alone would make it a lot better. If an overhaul is to be done, rip up that awful underground area. Brutalist lovers are few in number. To the general public, that type of architecture is cold, harsh, and cruel. There's a reason why Chicago chose classical elements. (inspired by columbian expo). You feel like you are entering some place of grandeur. It's inviting and welcoming. Hart plaza has a "welcome to the prison" kind of attitude.

Another issue is the monuments in Hart Plaza fail to interact. Yes, they are great, I do value them to some extent, but they just sit there. In the category of being part of the public life, they suck. But they are still beautiful! Obviously for those who have been to millenium park you hvae the jellybean, Gehry's bridge, and the water fountain with the faces. There's also a few other features throughout that can be EXPERIENCED. That's what makes M-P such a big draw.

It's evident the designs with the river walk and Hart Plaza are not compatible. So I do agree Hart needs a complete overhaul.

Oh, and I'm glad Ford Auditorium is getting demoed. I don't see any future for it. I could really care less if it offends the Fords.

The destination restaurant sounds great. Watch DYES! start screaming Cheesecake!

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Chicago's Museum campus is also amazing. I love the section that leads from dowtown to the Field Museum by the underground tunnel. Is there anything thats not simply marvelous in that city? Detroit needs to take more examples when developing anything, including streetscapes, parks, and even buildings. Wolv. - what in the world are you doing in Michigan when you have Chicago... Just kidding. :)

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Really, Michigan shouldn't be blamed for having something that isn't that well designed. Might I remind people what existed in Chicago before Millenium Park.... a railyard. Surprising that it took that long to put something useful over it. Detroit was very energetic in its planning during the 1950's. I'm surprised Hart Plaza even got built considering what it replaced. The elements that make up Hart Plaza were what was considered leading edge in design during that time. Of course, today we realize that modernist architecture wasn't that friendly within an urban environment. Detroit has the capabilities to create it's own park that is just as marvelous and beautiful as millenium park. But it's difficult to invest a lot of money in something where the region is struggling socially and economically. $40 million is a great sum of money though and I'm sure they will get a good deal of milleage out of that.

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As much as the monuments of Hart Plaza are disconnected from one another, and just disconnected from people, in general, I think the Dodge Fountain is an excellent, workable monument that acts as an excellent meeting place. I think some are being too hard on the plaza. It definitely could use some improvements, but there really are few cities in this country with plazas as large and as grand as Hart Plaza. It was built as a monumental events space, and it serves that function relatively well. There isn't much that needs to be done to it, to fully utilize it.

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To make the park even nicer, I wish the city can compeltely renovate the Tunnel and make it more apealing to the eye. They might be able to completely cover it and allow public access between the ren cen and the plaza. Of course this is just a dream. I'm definatly not expecting anything in my generation. :)

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Ah yes, the dodge fountain is nice now that its working. Hart Plaza is special in that the swath of land it occupies creates beautiful vistas of the city and river, and really connects these two elements together very well. From above, Hart Plaza looks alright, but from ground level, it's trash. No really, its trash. When it was built, it was beautiful...for that time. Excluding the monuments, what exists there to be proud about? Aged and damaged concrete? Dead modernist forms? Landscaping in dire need of maintenance? The low trees need to be cut down, and replaced with ones that will grow taller so the grass can be cut, and people can actually sit there. Ditch that [email protected] stand that has "Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Welcomes You Detroit" on top of it. Finally, repave the plaza in a way that is similar to the river walk. My guess is $40 million will easily fix the problem. I'm looking forward to the improvements. Detroit continues to amaze me with what it has done to improve its public spaces, I'm sure the new Hart Plaza will shine.

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Some good points, but can we do it without the stereotypical "pretentious architect" act that's been popping up here and there, lately? It's not a good look for you, man, got to be honest.

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I don't see pretentious architect as much as I see honest opinions, critical analysis, and suggestions for improvement.

I agree that Dodge Fountain at least is a nice sculptural element and I wouldn't change a thing about it. But there is a lot that can be reworked about the rest of the plaza to make it less brutal and more inviting.

Certainly the bowl area could be redesigned to better facilitate concerts and large crowds.

And I'll be happy to see Ford Auditorium go. I just doesn't fit in with its surroundings on the waterfront there. It's a large black and grey mass that stands in stark contrast to its more natural surrounds. It seems rather cold and distant to me - an image the city could stand to shed.

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I disagree. Europe has some awesome and huge concrete and/or stone plazas that work very well. It's how they are designed that matters, not the material, alone. Hart Plaza isn't fully utilized, no doubt, but I wouldn't place it all on the material of the plaza, at all. There are some great concrete/stone plaza and some bad ones, some terribly set up greenspace and some amazing urban greenspaces.

BTW, I didn't see any mention of changing the designation of plaza to park, so I don't think we even have to worry about that. I also like the idea that they are looking to put a destination restaurant in the park. It can be done is a careful and classy way.

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I'm not arguing that there is nothing wrong with Hart Plaza. All I'm arguing is that it really wouldn't take a lot to improve it. Even in its current state, I'd say that it serves it purpose relatively well. The tranformation will upgrade it from "good" to "great", IMO, as it's not a terrible open space. There's just been a lot of talk, and I think often exaggerated, about "Chicago" this and "Detroit terrible" that. Chicago isn't the only measure of a city, and I think we should start taking more of Urban American into account when we want to compare Detroit amenities to something similar.

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I'm not arguing that there is nothing wrong with Hart Plaza. All I'm arguing is that it really wouldn't take a lot to improve it. Even in its current state, I'd say that it serves it purpose relatively well. The tranformation will upgrade it from "good" to "great", IMO, as it's not a terrible open space. There's just been a lot of talk, and I think often exaggerated, about "Chicago" this and "Detroit terrible" that. Chicago isn't the only measure of a city, and I think we should start taking more of Urban American into account when we want to compare Detroit amenities to something similar.

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I was actually making a point earlier that Detroit and Chicago weren't worth comparing. And I did state that Hart Plaza was a good product for its time.

LMich, I'd invite you to take a trip down to Hart Plaza and see for yourself its condition. There's a difference between seeing it in glossed up photographs or in person. In no way are my criticisms of Hart Plaza exaggerated. Although, I will admit some of this is based on opinion, as there are people who will appreciate the park far more than I ever will. However, the forms that exist are no longer acceptable pieces of architecture for a public space. If Hart Plaza was succesful, you wouldn't be seeing 40 million being invested in revamping the park. It's a matter of adjusting to the times.

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You act as if I've never been to Hart Plaza, or been to it recently. I have. This is exactly what I'm talking about. That was patronizing. I need to take a time out for a few days/weeks.

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me thinks i've got wolverine's back on this one... and I'm an engineer which means I inherently hate architects and urban planners!! :-)

Hart Plaza is an adequate space for large events. But in terms of a park? Ehh, I could do without it. Too me, it really just seems like a long, wide sidewalk to the river. The concrete makes it seem (and to some point it kinda is) totally disconnected from downtown. The park (plaza...) offers very little to visitors if something isn't going on. I used to work downtown and I'd eat lunch every day in Hart Plaza. But where in the park? On the steps by the river, never in the place. It is great that we have such a sizable public space available, but I'd like to see a more diverse and inviting use placed here instead of the pedestrian plazas that we all know do not work. (c'mon, find me a 1970's era plaza that works... everyone hates them!)

In terms of the park's value for the users, again, I don't really see one. Campus Martius, while quite tiny, offers uses tons of movable, sittable space and offers a setting that, while separate from the city around it, still seems to embrace it and provide distinct connections. Also, it has some cool monuments that mean something. They made some steps placing the underground railroad monument there, but why not put some more detroit flair into hart plaza?

As far as the condition of the place? Its hurting. Lights don't work, the concrete is breaking and the stone is loose and the trolley tracks are still there (I think?)... It needs LOTS of work.

and now back to the fight! :-)

ps, the lights and the digital sign are HIDEOUS!!!!

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