A green public space forges equity by “capping” a highway and reconnecting a community


LocationDallas, Texas, United States
ClientHKS Inc.
Size2.8 acres

“Southern Gateway Park will be an engineering marvel over I-35E, with five acres of wooded slopes, water features, rocky escarpments, a restaurant/retail complex hidden under a hilltop, and one of the most awesome kids’ playgrounds in North Texas. But its greatest achievement may be to make Oak Cliff whole again—and to bring all of Dallas together.”

– Dallas Innovates

The Southern Gateway Public Green will cap Highway 35 in South Dallas directly adjacent to the Dallas Zoo and the Oak Cliff neighborhood.  The park’s design effectively reconnects the neighborhood, which was cleaved by the highway’s construction many decades ago.

Recognizing the reunification’s significance, the cap park design introduces the 12th Street pedestrian promenade  that expresses the importance of this street and doubles as a “history walk.”  Here, interpretive elements are introduced to celebrate the  people who have shaped this diverse, historic neighborhood.

The park will be built in two phases, and its infrastructure is currently under construction to “cap” the highway.  It will feature event spaces, a market-style dining and retail area, and lawns, and will showcase the region’s unique geological features.

Design for the Southern Gateway Public Green commenced at the beginning of COVID quarantine.  Despite limitations on in-person meetings, a thorough and inclusive public engagement process featured five bilingual workshops and facilitated interaction with several hundred Oak Cliff residents.

The park is a built testament to restoring equity and providing great public realm space as a community’s anchor.

Curious? View this video created by the advocates for Southern Gateway Park.

Related Projects

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.


Homecrest Playground

Part of the larger Shore Parkway, an 816.1-acre collection of parks that stretches across Brooklyn and Queens, Homecrest Playground originally opened in 1942 with a baseball field, basketball courts, handball courts, and benches for community use. This park redesign focuses on providing different playground and recreation amenities for surrounding residents.

Bayou Greenways

While Houston does have significant park spaces and trails, the city of no zoning has historically been unable to create enough designated open spaces and the necessary connectivity between them. The key to increasing the open space network lies within the region’s floodplains. Relatively flat terrain, intense rain events, and urbanized watersheds create broad...

Tangqiao Waterfront Park

The Tangqiao project is located along the east bank of Huangpu River in the city of Shanghai. The project consists of landscape areas in three financial-office parcels and one waterfront park parcel. The view of the site is remarkable, looking toward the landmark skyscrapers of Lujiazui Financial Center, Nanpu Bridge, the Bund, and the future Minsheng CBD.