New recreation resources for a park-poor neighborhood with a rich creative history.


LocationHawthorne, California, United States
ClientThe Trust for Public Land
Size1 acre

After nearly 15 years of being closed to the public, Bicentennial Park will soon provide a lively setting for neighborhood recreation. The City of Hawthorne has been home to many creative people throughout history: a legendary athlete and Olympian, Jim Thorpe; a world-famous movie star, Marilyn Monroe; and one of the most beloved American rock bands, The Beach Boys. The City is also at the center of the United States aerospace industry, home to Northrop Grumman and SpaceX. Hawthorne High School provides outstanding programs in engineering and manufacturing, promising a future generation of leading scientists. Yet today, more than 20 percent of the total population of Hawthorne lives below the poverty line and the community is victim to some of the worst environmental conditions in Southern California. In collaboration with The Trust for Public Land, the local community has worked for many years to redevelop the little-used and neglected Bicentennial Park property into a safe, welcoming recreational resource for city residents. Working closely with project stakeholders, SWA designers have developed a design for the park renovation inspired by Hawthorne s history and heritage. Focusing on the playground as a main feature of the park, SWA proposed the concept “Where Creative Minds Grow.” The park’s design concept features the history of aviation as a playful element, exposing generations young and old to the community’s unique history.

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