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Transformative Civic Spaces

The ULI Urban Open Space Award is one of the highest honors in the industry, celebrating open spaces that enrich and revitalize communities. The award criteria emphasizes intensive use, positive economic impacts, community health benefits, and design strategies that can be adapted elsewhere, thereby providing an important tool for designers and communities everywhere.

I’m delighted to share that, this year, our design for Wilmington Waterfront Park was a finalist for the 2013 ULI Open Space Award. It’s an important milestone for the Port of Los Angeles and the Wilmington community, which were both engaged with the design process and have benefited tremendously from the park. It is also a great honor for our practice here at Sasaki, and for all the local firms we worked with.

Once a part of the Pacific coastline, the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles became disconnected from the waterfront by the industrial Port of Los Angeles. Wilmington Waterfront Park buffers Wilmington from the port operations, revitalizes the area, and visually reconnects the citizens to the waterfront. The park integrates a variety of active and passive uses determined through the extensive community outreach process—including a shared-use pedestrian and bicycle path that links to the California Coastal Trail. The park also features sustainable design and innovative engineering technologies such as titanium oxide-coated terrace walls, which transform harmful air pollutants into inert organic compounds.

We are proud to be presented along with the tied ULI Urban Open Space Award winners, The Parks and Waterfront at Southeast False Creek in Vancouver and The Yards Park in Washington DC. This is an exciting moment for designers, municipalities, and developers across the country to acknowledge the profound power of open space to create more engaged, healthy, and resilient cities, and to reflect on the strategies that have proven successful in realizing this potential.

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