The Urban Green

designed by /

Location: Nevada / USA / Type: Parks / Built: 2022 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on January 26, 2024

A former Parking Lot Has Been Transformed Into a Two-Acre Public Green Serving as the Center of a New Community

Central to the Reno Entertainment District (RED) is The Urban Green, a dynamic public space containing a variety of outdoor areas that facilitate community events, around which the modern urban district is arranged.

Inspired by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the nearby Truckee River, the Urban Green is a new public park showcasing innovative design solutions that reinforce a sense of ‘hiking through the city’. Bespoke design elements, local materials and a hierarchy of circulation paths enliven the park, support vibrant shared spaces, and offer a variety of experiences that build a unique sense of place.

Once the site of the Park Lane Mall, an indoor shopping center surrounded by impermeable parking lots, the park replaces 28,000 square feet of asphalt paving and over 35,000 square feet of high water use turfgrass that remained after the mall was raised. The opposite of Joni Mitchell’s famous song, this project tore down a parking lot to put up paradise.

The Urban Green is a dynamic public open space located at the center of the 32-acre Reno Experience District (RED), showcasing innovative design solutions with a strong sense of place. The park design is inspired by the natural forms and materials found in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains and Truckee River, reinforcing the theme of ‘hiking through the city’. Containing bespoke design elements and a hierarchy of circulation paths, the park offers a variety of unique experiences as the social hub of this mixed-use community.

As the sustainable focal point around which the newly constructed elements of this modern urban district are arranged, the park features a sunken artificial turf lawn and adjacent gravel bioswale which capture substantial rainwater while saving over 145,000 gallons of water per year on irrigation.  A misting feature provides cooling relief for park users while saving 32,400 gallons of water per day. Overall, the project conserves 325,850 gallons of water per year over traditional park design.

Embodying the natural synergy of the project context, the park features local plant species and construction materials. Full size regional native trees were sourced to populate the park with shade and scale while a variety of plants suited to the inter-mountain climate are arranged into three garden experiences (alpine, mountain meadow, and riparian). Boulders salvaged from grading operations and custom heavy timber benches, utilizing locally sourced wood, are situated throughout the park to provide rest areas.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Studio One Eleven

Other designers involved in the design of the landscape: Michael Christian, Artist

Year completed: 2022

Photo credits: Caitlin Atkinson

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