CUS  Vol.6 No.1 , March 2018
Unearthing Elements of Successful Park Master Planning: A Case Study of Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan
Does a well-designed master plan guarantee the future of a park? The answer to this question is not certain, which leads to asking what other factors contribute to the success or failure of master planning? Having a blueprint to guide the development of a park, often called a master plan, is commonly accepted as integral to park development. Belle Isle Park is the largest public park in Detroit. Since its establishment in 1880, the park has gone through dramatic social and economic changes, along with the City of Detroit. This case study takes Belle Isle’s unique history to identify possible factors that are significant to park development and success or failure of master planning. Despite the four master plans that were created for Belle Isle (by Frederick Law Olmsted, Dan Kiley and other design firms), the master plans did not significantly influence the actual growth of the park. Through this case study, four major factors, beyond good design, were identified that need to be taken into consideration throughout the entire process. These factors include: 1) permeability of location, access and spillover; 2) concordance of purpose, interests and decisions; 3) milieu of influencers, ideologies and consequences; and 4) connectedness of engagement, support and pride.
Cite this paper: Liang, H. and Crawford, P. (2018) Unearthing Elements of Successful Park Master Planning: A Case Study of Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan. Current Urban Studies, 6, 21-36. doi: 10.4236/cus.2018.61002.

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