It doesn't take a college degree to start tackling Detroit's problems and making the city a greener, more walkable place. While Wayne State University student Kyle Bartell, a native Detroiter, works to complete his Urban Studies degree, he's also spending time trying to create public parks.
"Living here in the city, that's been one of the biggest educators for me," Bartell said. "It's given me the first-hand experience of wanting to get involved."
When Bartell looked at ways Detroit could become friendlier to its residents, he started noticing "desire paths." Also called social trails, these paths are tread by people walking across land where there are no official walkways. Pedestrians create their own paths simply by wearing down the grass. For examples of the many desire paths in Detroit, see the Sweet Juniper blog.
Rather than forcing people to walk where the concrete lies, Bartell proposes designing around users' needs to make open spaces more welcoming. A vacant lot at Lothrop Road and Third Street in Detroit's New Center neighborhood caught his eye for its beautiful trees and the desire path created by people walking between a parking garage and Henry Ford Hospital.
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