Taking a critical eye to the aesthetics of Detroit-area freeway embankments

A freeway embankment in bloom along I-75 in Hamtramck.
A freeway embankment in bloom along I-75 in Hamtramck.

Detroit is a city that, for better or worse, is defined by its elaborate network of sunken freeways. They’ve sliced and diced entire neighborhoods, destroyed others completely and generally played havoc with the urban grid.

And like anyone who depends on his car to get around here, I spend plenty of time on ‘em. Which means that, like you, I spend plenty of time stuck in traffic, absorbing the scenery — such as it is.

Because I appreciate good design in all its forms, and it’s summer and I’m falling into trance-like bliss at the sight of greenery, I’ve begun taking a closer look at what lines our high-speed motorways. And it seems to me that ever so slowly, our freeway planners are starting to realize that all this real estate could be put to better, smarter use than just grassy slopes that need constant mowing.

Here are seven  examples of stretches of Detroit-area freeways, ranked by most to least scenic. Those without any differentiating features (i.e. just grass) aren’t included in the list.

Read the rest of my post on Daily Detroit: 7 scenic Detroit-area freeway embankments, ranked

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