Cultural Center


Midtown Detroit, Inc. is leading the Cultural Center Planning Initiative (CCPI), one of the most ambitious and progressive cultural infrastructure and urban design projects currently in development in the country. This initiative brings together 12 legacy arts, cultural and educational institutions to build a collective vision to transform Detroit’s Cultural Center into a more vibrant, connected, and accessible district for future generations. The CCPI will invest in green stormwater infrastructure solutions for this 83-acre site, while providing new parking with EV charging stations, as well as safer pedestrian experiences. This plan will also create new and enhance public spaces with beautiful landscaping, lighting, diverse public art, and a host of inviting amenities to support outdoor programming experiences, including free public Wi-Fi. Ultimately, the CCPI will increase resilience for the Cultural Center institutions in the face of intensifying environmental stressors related to climate change and aging city infrastructure while also providing a world-class attraction for local, regional, national, and international visitors.


Learn more about the CCPI’s plan below with a short fact sheet and presentation. The plan in its entrity is available at the CCPI’s website.



The CCPI’s landscape design will transform 16 acres of paved surface into lush landscape, incorporating native plantings, landforms, and pathways which add interest and elevate comfort for Cultural Center visitors and staff. Areas for programming will also be carved into the landscape along the proposed necklace pathway.

Stormwater Management

Currently, 60% of the Cultural Center is impervious hardscape. By transforming 15% of the hardscape to pervious surface, the plan can manage 15.6M gallons of stormwater annually. This involves removing some of the parking lanes to increase landscaping with bioretention and biodetention methods.


Currently, 40% of land in use in the Cultural Center is dedicated to cars. By bringing back the DIA-owned underground Farnsworth parking deck online and constructing a new underground deck on the site of the DIA-owned John R surface, 16 acres can be returned to human occupation. A comprehensive infrastructure plan for EV charging stations is also on the way.


To create a more welcoming environment for pedestrians, the CCPI plans on creating shared streetscapes and reduced lanes on major thoroughfares. Findings have shown that reducing the speed and narrowing the width of Woodward will not impede traffic flow through the Cultural Center or have a negative impact on the QLine. MDI is also developing an education and technology plan to explain how Detroiters and visitors can use other modes of mobility to get to and from the Cultural Center, such as Amtrak, bus, bike, QLine, scooter, ride-hailing, and more.

Digital strategy

MDI is in Phase 2 of the development of a Wi-Fi system for the Cultural Center in partnership with Wayne State University that will grant free, high-speed internet access to the public. By working with WSU, MDI can bypass local telephone companies and construct an affordable system to provide high quality broadband services responsive to the needs of the district and residents.

Programming & Public Art

MDI is in the early phases of developing a programming and public art overlay for the Cultural Center that will be responsive to the times and help tell Detroit’s stories, while showcasing the best of contemporary art from around the world. This is an opportunity to provide more opportunities and jobs to Detroit artists by commissioning new artworks, performances, and public educational workshops. The CCPI will be introducing increased outdoor and seasonal programming in the near future.

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