Revitalizing the Grand River Corridor: Activating the Rouge River (2016)

Client Organization: 
Farmington/Farmington Hills Corridor Improvement Authority (F/FHCIA)
Project Location : 
Farmington and Farmington Hills, MI
Summary of Project Idea: 

The cities of Farmington and Farmington Hills, Michigan, have formed the Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) under the long-term goal of revitalizing the area around Grand River Avenue. The corridor has been recognized for its economic potential given its proximity to the Rouge River, the northern stretch of which flows through town. Long identified as a key natural amenity, the Rouge River currently lacks integration with the community but shows great opportunity to transform the Grand River Avenue. Our project took on the task of investigating the existing ecological conditions of the site and presenting a design proposal for a trail network system that would re-engage the community with the Rouge River. We assessed ecological conditions through field surveys and GIS analysis which revealed large amounts of invasive plants and some areas still affected by Emerald Ash Borer. Integrating the outcome of ecological condition investigation, field walks, and community feedback from surveys and open houses, we identified a contiguous trail system which consists of pedestrian only trails and multi-use trails. We chose three sites to present detailed designs of how access points along the Rouge can be developed to initiate the trail system implementation. This report will be used by the CIA as a way to explore future opportunities along the Grand River Avenue while engaging the Rouge River as a valuable asset for enhancing river ecosystem and community well-being as well as economic development.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Landscape Architecture
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
MaryCarol Hunter
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Qiuling Chen, MLA Landscape Architecture 
  • Jeff Dube, MLA Landscape Architecture
  • Yoshihiko Kubota, MLA Landscape Architecture 
  • Stevia Morawski, MS Conservation Ecology
  • Eileen Oelhaf, MS Environmental Policy and Planning 
Project Status: 
Past Project