Mitch Glass: Detroit and Hartford: Reviving and Reconnecting Neighborhoods through Planning/Urban Design

Four color renderings of city parks and public spaces

Renderings of recent innovative urban design strategies in Detroit and Hartford, Connecticut, by Goody Clancy. rendering / Goody Clancy

Mitch Glass is a visiting critic at Cornell University in the departments of City and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture. Glass is an urban designer and landscape architect with 25 years of experience in diverse master planning, urban design, and landscape architecture projects in urban environments across the globe. Before his appointments at Cornell, Glass worked at the 70-person architecture, planning, and preservation firm Goody Clancy in Boston, focusing on action-oriented urban design plans in Washington, DC; Detroit; Buffalo and Jamestown, New York; and Hartford, Stamford, and New Haven, Connecticut. Previous to Goody Clancy, Glass worked at Sasaki Associates in Watertown, Massachusetts, on mixed-use and multidisciplinary projects in Africa, China, Vietnam, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Russia, and the U.S. with a variety of multinational teams and national/international clients. Glass's experience also includes working for Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City of Chicago as an urban designer/landscape architect on mixed-use real estate development and public space projects throughout Chicago.


Detroit, Michigan, and Hartford, Connecticut, are two cities facing profound and longstanding urban challenges. This talk compares recent approaches to community revitalization through visionary actions that reconnect isolated neighborhoods to each other and their downtowns. In Detroit, the city is sponsoring redevelopment plans for four distinct neighborhoods that bring consultants and community members to the table to achieve implementable results after years of informal planning by local organizations. In Hartford, the state's plan to reconstruct an aging, two-mile-long highway viaduct is providing the opportunity to link neighborhoods and a city that was split apart 50 years ago by the interstate's construction. Both efforts reveal the myriad ways that planners and urban designers are affecting tangible change in developing U.S. cities.

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