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Newly-Opened Parks Prioritize Resilience, Accessibility, and Community


This fall, three major parks opened to the public, creating new civic spaces for communities to gather, see live entertainment, and more. Boston City Hall Plaza opened in Boston, MA; Bonnet Springs Park opened in Lakeland, FL, and Losner Park opened in Homestead, FL. 

“The ultimate goal of what we do as designers is to witness the impact of our work,” reflects Michael Grove, principal and chair of landscape architecture, civil engineering, and ecology. “Each of these parks spark joy, build community, and encourage interaction both with the landscape and with each other. To see people enjoy the spaces that were made for all to experience — with the added benefit of their countless positive environmental outcomes — proves the value of landscape architecture to affect positive change.”

A New Civic Heart for Downtown Boston

An accessible, resilient City Hall Plaza reopened in Boston, MA on November 22. Many new features make the Plaza a more comfortable place to come and stay, rather than just pass through. A new, ADA-accessible promenade, known as the Hanover Walk, winds through the middle of the Plaza and replaces over twenty-five vertical feet of steps that forced people with mobility aids and strollers to take long and treacherous detours around City Hall. There are also now 3,000 places to sit throughout the space, many with accessible companion seating areas. The Plaza is home to 250 new trees, whose shade will cool the entire Plaza in the summer. A new Civic Pavilion overlooking Congress Street offers public restrooms and an inviting space for indoor events. And the 12,000-square foot playscape with its impressive slide gives families a contained and accessible place to gather

“The spaces we build are a reflection of our city and our values,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, “and thanks to these incredible collaborations, we have built something here that embodies our vision for Boston, and builds on the legacies that we inherit from those that came before.”

Former Rail Yard Begins New Life as 168-Acre Park

On October 26, Bonnet Springs Park opened to an estimated 25,000 visitors in Lakeland, Florida on land transformed from a neglected industrial site to a bustling regional destination.

“Bonnet Springs Park required a level of synthesis between landscape architecture, civil engineering, and architecture throughout the design process that only Sasaki could have provided,” said Anna Cawrse, principal and co-director of Sasaki’s Denver office. “The park was driven by the community’s desire to have vibrant cultural spaces and showcase the beautiful ecology of Central Florida. Watching thousands of people enjoy the park at its opening was truly a moving experience.”

Sasaki’s park design includes heritage gardens, a canopy walk, boating activities, sculpture gardens, playgrounds, and an event lawn. New walking and biking paths connect major park spaces with new buildings designed by Sasaki: Welcome Center, Nature Center, Event Center, and Children’s Museum and Cafe.

A Downtown Park Reflecting South Florida’s Ecosystem and Culture

Losner Park’s design thoughtfully responds to Homestead’s culture, community, and the South Florida region. The design team worked closely with the City to assure that the park’s design is durable, resilient, universally accessible, and meets the functional needs of the park operators and its varied users. 

On November 22, Losner Park re-opened to the public. The new park design grows the existing park and amenities from .68 acres to 3 acres. The design includes a food truck plaza, a new sculptural-style play space, a large event lawn and covered stage, a hammock entry garden and seating area, lush garden spaces with diverse native plant materials, and a redesigned veterans’ memorial. 

Learn more about Sasaki’s work on parks and other civic spaces

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