Refocusing on the Positive Aspects of Urban Life
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"3000","speed":"300","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationCleveland, Ohio, United States
ClientCity of Cleveland and LAND Studio
Size1 acre

Originally completed in 1972, this vestige of IM Pei’s urban renewal plan was built when the street was seen as a menace and parks turned inward. Rolling berms surrounded the edges and the sunken middle areas were filled with concrete retaining walls. After years of decline, Thomas Balsley Associates’ designed a plan to reunite the community with its park. The “forest and meadow” concept preserves the park’s strong points—mature shade trees and the liminal mounds—and replaces the central sink hole with a wide, sunny lawn on which daily urban life unfolds. On the north side are intimate seating areas among a grove of existing honey locusts which cast dappled shade on a floor of crushed stone. Oval mounds provide topographic relief, their gentle swellings contrasting with a grid of 20-foot-tall light wands that provide night-time drama. A corner food kiosk and trellised cafe terraces activate the park. Perimeter garden beds and distinctive seating flank the perimeter path embedded with light strips. The lawn’s formality has been interrupted by a large oval mound on which children play and adults view daily impromptu city life and staged performances. Clear lines of sight replace huddled bunkers. Choices that range between sanctuary and urban social interaction abound. Perk Park embodies the untapped potential of small urban public spaces: A public waste ground has been transformed into a common ground inspiring pride and enjoyment; it serves as an example of a collective civic will’s vision and fortitude, and the power of design.

Related Projects

Gubei Gold Street

SWA was selected to conceptualize, design, and realize a rare find in bustling Shanghai—a pedestrian mall (Gold Street). The corridor occupies three city blocks, is flanked by 20-story high-rise residential towers with retail at street level and book-ended by SWA-designed parks. Creating an iconic presence and enlivening the area, the mall features plazas, fou...

Pacific Plaza

The latest step in the renaissance of Downtown Dallas has arrived with Pacific Plaza, a 3.89-acre public park that serves the central business district’s burgeoning population and contributes substantially to the city’s outdoor experience. The first of an ambitious four-park initiative, Pacific Plaza complements adjacent urban greenspace with a varied program ...

Shekou Promenade

After China reached out to the rest of the world through its open-door policy, Shekou (part of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone) became an important gateway for foreigners to discover the mainland. Its urban public realm, however, suffered from rapid urbanization and lacked attractive parks and facilities for the burgeoning population. With an increased awar...

Ichigaya Forest

“Ichigaya Forest” is the privately owned, publicly accessible, major open space on Dai Nippon Printing Company’s 5.4-hectare new world headquarters in the Shinjuku Ward. Vertical development and production modernization that extends underground was made possible the creation of this 3.2-hectare open space. Over half the site is now planted wi...

SIPG Harbor City Parks

This new riverfront development is located on the Yangtze River in the Baoshan District of Shanghai. This area boasts some of the highest shipping activity in the world. However, in recent years this single-function industrial zone has given way, allowing for waterfront parks to develop. Within this historically layered water front the Baoshan Park and Open Sp...

Jeffrey Open Space Park

The Jeffrey Open Space Park represents approximately 96 acres of park and trails, with an average width of 265 ft. The three-mile long spine is designed for passive uses with a network of trails that connect to residential neighborhoods and active recreation parks.

The design process included a series of community workshops to solicit community’s commen...

Ricardo Lara Park

Ricardo Lara Park is a vibrant city park and a case study in landscape infrastructure.  It demonstrates how a small investment and creative thinking about landscape can transform the very infrastructure that has long divided and isolated a community into an amenity that unites it, offering much-needed environmental and recreational benefits.

Here, more ...

Lianjiang Park

Located between a mountain and river in rapidly growing Changsha, Lianjiang Park commands a critical juncture between city, nature, and a changing way of life. While the Lianjiang region had always been intimately linked to the water, recent urban development has resulted in a significant loss of wetlands, habitats, and the culture they give rise to.

In...