“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
Tulsa Riverfront Park
SWA directed conceptual studies for incorporating a landmark residential estate, a multi-family housing complex and a creek corridor into the adjacent Arkansas River waterfront of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Recently acquired by a local community foundation, the total 64-acre area features sweeping lawns and a historic home that provides much-needed space for the city’s ...
China Beach acts as an amphitheater to take in the drama of the San Francisco Golden Gate: the ebb and flow of the wildlife, currents, tides, winds, fog, sun, surf, and marine traffic. Ultimately, this larger landscape and the landscape features of a refreshed beach terrace will be the defining experience for the visitor to China Beach. We are striving to prod...
OCT Bao’an Waterfront Cultural Park
Bao’an Waterfront Park is an essential amenity for future residents of Shenzhen’s rapidly expanding Qianhai area, and is also an important connection between the urban fabric and the ocean. The key landscape frameworks for the park are its riverine interpretation aspects and water’s edge programs. The “Eco River” will bring water experiences into the green spa...
Katy Trail represents a remarkable resource for the residents of the Dallas Fort Worth region. This project enlivens and makes accessible right-of-way established by the storied, but later abandoned, Missouri-Kansas-Texas (better known as the “Katy”) line, and serves as a unifying element for the surrounding neighborhoods. Katy Trail provides appro...