21st Century Parks

The Globe and Mail (UK) did a series on 21st century parks, including the High Line Park in NYC (see earlier post), Canada’s new “high-design” parks, and the Promenade Plantee in Paris. According to the Globe and Mail, “contemporary urban park design has […] transformed some of the worst areas of our cities into arenas of pleasure for everyone. Landscape architects have pioneered the rescue of severely polluted industrial land, and in Europe that transition has been especially dramatic.” 

HtO Urban Beach, Toronto: The Globe and Mail writes: “the lakeside park includes mounds of green surrounded by circular paths, and an umbrella-dotted ‘beach’ stretching along the waterfront.” Claude Cormier, a Montreal landscape architect who worked on the project with Janet Rosenberg, said to the Globe and Mail: “Recreation, comfort, shade – you just sit there and watch the world go by.” Ht0 won a ASLA 2009 Professional Award

WaveDeck, Toronto: “What’s a beach without a boardwalk? A complementary project to HtO Urban Beach is WaveDeck, a series of undulating wooden boardwalks that open up the Lake Ontario shoreline to the city.” West 8, a Dutch landscape architecture firm, worked with a Toronto-based firm, du Toit Allsopp Hillier (DTAH), to design WaveDeck’s seven boardwalks. WaveDeck helps connect the Ht0 park and Music Garden. WaveDeck also won an ASLA 2009 professional award.

Read the article

Promenade Plantee, Paris: This elevated walkway-park, built on an abandoned railway viaduct, has entrances along its 4.5 kilometer length. The Globe and Mail writes: “though the plants are traditional (lavender, roses and other flora), the concept of keeping the elevated railway, its wonderful arches and glorious brickwork, and turning it into something everyone could use is a very modern idea.” The park was designed by Jacques Vergely, landscape architect, and Phillipe Mathieux, an architect.

A few other key examples mentioned include the Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park, which re-purposed the “belching furnaces in the Ruhr Valley,” and London’s Olympic Park, which “not only fills unused but valuable land, but adds all the elements of sustainable park design: cultivating native plants, attracting wildlife, providing places for people to walk and play.” Read the article

Image credit: Ht0 / Neil Fox

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