Repairing the Rift and Rebuilding Community
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationLynwood, California, United States
ClientCity of Lynwood
Size5.25 acres

“The United States is still recovering from  urban renewal decisions to prioritize highways over communities, resulting in neighborhoods—primarily occupied by residents of color—that have been bifurcated by massive infrastructural barriers. Decades later, some of those disruptive decisions are beginning to be ameliorated, as are the communities impacted by them. One such community is Lynwood, California, where the five-block Ricardo Lara Linear Park replaces a barren, freeway-adjacent right-of-way with a shaded green space that affords park access to more than 26,000 neighbors. Rainwater capture and retention systems reduce runoff and address previous flooding issues, while also providing a dynamic and cooling feature that promotes exercise, agriculture, and togetherness.”

– 2021 ASLA National Awards Jury

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 than five acres of vacant lots along an I-105 freeway embankment were transformed into a mile-long park that filters stormwater runoff (equivalent to six swimming pools per year), improves air quality, and provides multiple outdoor gathering spaces.

SWA’s design was inspired by a collaboration with the nonprofit From Lot to Spot to conduct community outreach; this lively exchange of ideas contributed to the park’s unique identity, structure, and function.

Cross streets divide the park into five blocks, and each block accommodates a different program: dog park, fitness stations, play structures, community gardening and education, and passive recreation with artwork and storm water detention.   Advancing Lynwood’s “Healthy City Initiative,” the park connects with the LARIO Bike Trail and promotes healthy lifestyles in what has been a community long under-served by parks and open space.

Learn more about our work in Landscape Infrastructure

Winner, 2021 Award of Excellence – Urban Design, ASLA National

Related Projects

Polliwog Park

Originally built in the 1970s, Polliwog Park is a high-use neighborhood amenity that provides active recreation and play facilities to local families. The original playground was replaced in 2003 but required a full update in 2020 to account for routine flooding. SWA’s design allows the park to remain an active community feature year-round.

In addition ...

Buffalo Bend Park

Buffalo Bend Park is a conversion of waterfront industrial land into an urban wetlands demonstration project. The project diverts urban runoff into a series of connected wetlands before returning the flow to the bayou, removing bacteria, nutrients, and toxic materials from the flow on the way. The plan includes parking, trails (including a segment of the regio...

Irvine Great Park Framework

One of the world’s largest municipal parks, the 1,200-acre Great Park in Irvine, California is now under development under a conceptual framework that encompasses redesign and implementation of near- and longer-term uses, with the intent to “put the park back into the park.” The vast site, which was once the Marine Corps’ El Toro Air Station, was first reimagi...

Shenzhen Longgang River Blueway

Shenzhen’s Blueway Initiative is envisioned to activate the industry and culture of its urban communities, unlock the tremendous land value of the watershed, and inject sustainable vitality into Shenzhen’s future growth. The design is inspired by the interplay of the blueway’s five systems: hydrology, ecology, leisure, industry, and culture. The design strateg...

Evelyn’s Park

In honor of their late matriarch Evelyn, the Rubenstein family donated a historically and geographically prominent five-acre tract on the busy Bellaire Boulevard and created a conservancy to fund a public park with primarily private funds, while engaging the public in its design and development. This park seeks to be reflective and adaptive to the local cultur...

The Clearing: Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial

This project was designed to honor the 20 children and six educators who were slain on Dec 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Designers Dan Affleck and Ben Waldo created a competition-winning design for a memorial space which is both open-ended and unifying in how it is experienced, honoring the full spectrum of emotions this tragedy evokes. They wanted...

Changchun Tractor Factory Renovation

Once-industrial site re-imagined as a commercial complex with eye-catching public spaces.

For this site, which was once an industrial tractor factory that epitomized Changchun’s thriving industrial past, SWA provided conceptual design through implementation to transform the former of Changchun Tractor Factory into an eye-catching public realm that fulfi...

Shenzhen Bay

Situated just across the bay from Hong Kong, the city of Shenzhen has transformed from a small fishing town of 30,000 to a booming city of over 10 million people in 40 years – and has grown over 200 times its original size since 1980. Along the way, the character of Shenzhen’s bayfront was radically altered. Over 65 km2 of marsh and shallow bay were filled to ...