Project Details

My project seeks to improve Michigan Ave with parklets and artful crosswalks that increase walkability and beautify Corktown. This will be tied to the Corktown Business Association’s long-term strategy for transforming the neighborhood. My job is to help bring together the various interests of this community and help craft strategies that will improve the quality of life over short and long terms. The hope is that by seeing and experiencing new models in temporary form, people will be more receptive to bolder, more innovative civic experiments.

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Chad Rochkind's Biography


Project Update

champs blogpost chadFebruary 2016
Shortly after removing the Corktown parklet, the Department of Transportation approached Chad to discuss creating a legitimate and formalized program within the DOT that will support other residents in creating more parklets in the future.

Since September, Chad has worked closely with the newly formed Corktown Economic Development Association (CEDA) to secure funding for a complete streets master plan for Michigan Avenue. They plan to begin the community engagement and planning process in the near future. The master planning process will include a series of tactical urbanist interventions inspired by the Better Block Foundation to allow real-time experimentation and testing of ideas collected throughout the consultation phase.

In other exciting news, Chad's idea for The Underground Order of Tactical Urbanists was selected as a finalist for the Knight Cities Challenge. The Underground Order would be a localized, Detroit-based version of the Emerging City Champions program that would award 15 innovators with $5,000 to implement community-building projects.

October 2015
Chad has compared the experience of crossing the seven lanes of Michigan Avenue to a real-life game of Frogger. In an effort to calm traffic, improve safety, and reclaim road space for pedestrians, Chad and his team installed a 208-square-foot parklet in a parking spot along Michigan Avenue in August. The temporary space was removed after one week, but not before making national news and sparking conversations about improving the public realm in the Corktown neighbourhood. "It was never about the parklet. It was about starting a long-term process for transforming Michigan Avenue," said Chad.

Reclaiming a Detroit Road, One Parking Space at a Time (Sept. 10, 2015)
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