Campus Martius Park, Detroit
A national and international destination, Campus Martius Park was named “Top Public Square” by USA Today in 2021 and has won countless awards for public space design, management, operations, placemaking, and programming. In the heart of the downtown, Campus Martius Park is Detroit’s gathering place where both residents and visitors can take in the skyline, people watch, grab food from a food truck, or go ice skating in the winter. This famous park was created in 2004 at the site of Detroit’s point of origin located at 0 mile marker, where the vision for the city’s plan was originally laid out by Augustus Woodward in 1805.
Designed by REA, the park, along with the five redesigned radiating streets that surround it has become one of the most loved public spaces in Michigan. Since its opening, the park has accelerated downtown Detroit’s resurgence as a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly retail, commercial, and entertainment area.
Some history and facts of this place:
The park is located at the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Michigan Avenue, four blocks south of Grand Circus Park. The original Campus Martius covered several acres and was a major gathering area for citizens. The park was lost in the 1900s as the city's downtown was reconfigured to accommodate increased vehicular traffic. Hart Plaza, along the riverfront, was designed to replace Campus Martius as a point of importance, but as it is a primarily hard-surfaced public space, many residents came to lament the lack of true park space in the city's downtown area. This led to calls to rebuild Campus Martius.
The new Campus Martius Park was dedicated November 19, 2004, and includes two performance stages, sculptures, public spaces, and a seasonal ice skating rink. At 1.2 acres, the park is smaller than its predecessor, as a full restoration of the original would have required the demolition of several buildings. However, the city increased the amount of park space in the area by constructing the new Cadillac Square Park, which opened in summer 2007, immediately to the east of Campus Martius.
The park's skating rink is designed to resemble the Rockefeller Center rink in New York City but is larger in size.