Riverbank Park, Flint MI

What does it mean when the park at the city center, a park focused on the river that drove Flint’s origins is a deteriorated abandoned space. Halprin’s Riverbank Park,park and  infrastructure, has been altered by the removal of one of its 5 blocks: the fountain.  The infrastructure, a failing dam, was removed  and a new bridge built- one that doesn’t look or reflect the original park

The original park, a concrete, plant, and water design, organized to lead one through the river bank to the water’s edge in a carefully controlled level, site lines created by carefully chosen axial lines. The variety of textures create viewing spots, windows to the riverscape that allow for an escape from the surrounding city, buildings, cars. canal cut through the park introducing the river into the journey through the park.

Today the park is a ruin; splotched with graffiti, and left to deteriorate. Darkened concrete walls, overgrown grasses, and a dirty dank river anchor a city slowly reviving, but a city caught in the dream of its past.

And its deterioration is visual reminder of the Flint Water Crisis, when water from this river was used for municipal water, piped through untreated lead pipes.


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