Highland Park Downtown Strategic Plan

Highland Park Downtown Strategic Plan Highland Park, Michigan

Services Provided

Downtown Planning
Strategic Planning
Multimodal Planning
Community Engagement

People Involved

Brad Strader

Rediscovering demand for a historic urban core through activation and targeted investments.

Highland Park is a historic community whose boundaries are wholly encompassed by the city of Detroit. An old industrial city once home to the prestigious Ford Motor Company Model-T Plant, Highland Park has been impacted by the nation's manufacturing decline and recession; the Ford plant moved to the suburbs, taking economic opportunity with it, and the city was hit hard by State Management imposed on cities across Michigan in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

As Highland Park emerges from this period of instability, adjusts to the new structure in the region's economy, and rebuilds its municipal services, it is focused on demonstrating to its residents and the region that it can be again a community of choice to invest, live, work, play, and learn. The Highland Park Tax Increment Financing Authority (TIFA) engaged MKSK to develop a strategic investment plan that would guide development activities in the city's TIF district over the next 5-10 years. 


The plan takes a detailed look at early opportunity, low risk/high reward projects that bring the community together and prove the development market.


Initiatives include tactical infrastructure including bike lanes and programs such as a popup outdoor movie theater and civic square for music, dancing, public art, food and beverage. These early uses become the anchors and amenities for future development.

Future development initiatives include installing a critical piece of the regional greenway, mixed income housing, new cultural and retail experiences, and entrepreneurship support for culinary startups. The plan also provides operational guidance to TIFA that will assist them in identifying and recruiting development partners while focusing on equity and inclusion for its residents and businesses.