“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
Thousand Oaks Urban Forestry Master Plan
While residents and businesses are clearly proud of the City of Thousand Oaks’ two-decade-long “Tree City USA” designation, recent drought conditions created an urgent need for the City to decrease grassy landscapes and update maintenance practices. As a key part of these efforts, the City selected SWA, along with team partners Planning & Energy/Entitlemen...
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...
Bicentennial Park Renovation
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...
Ningbo East New Town Eco-Corridor
SWA provided planning and design services for the 3.3km long, 250-acre metropolitan Ningbo Eco-Corridor, which transforms a former agricultural plain that had been taken over by industrial use into urban green infrastructure. Located in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta on China’s coastline, Ningbo is one of China’s oldest cities, with an area of 3,616 squa...