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.
Landscape Architecture: SWA Group
Size: 5.25 acres; 1 mile long
Completion Date: 2015