Key Features of Urban Park Designs

Chicago Riverwalk

Landscape Architects Incorporate Natural Stone to Accommodate Modern Needs

Well-designed landscape spaces continue to be a growing trend in urban planning. Creating outdoor spaces with inspired designs, promotes connection in our human experience. This month we connect virtually at the ASLA reVISION event with designers and manufacturers across the country to network and discuss the challenges facing the landscape architecture profession. Throughout the year, as we saw the world shift towards socially distanced outdoor gatherings, both urban parks and plazas experienced renewed attention. We believe landscape architects now have an even higher calling to continue to bring inspired, sustainable spaces to our communities.

In this article, we take a look at some key features incorporated in well-designed landscape spaces across the country:

Bike and Pedestrian-Friendly Features:

To accommodate the rising interest in cycling, smart city designs incorporate bike paths and bike-friendly features. The Banks, an 18-acre development in downtown Cincinnati, offers an excellent example. The design includes a grand stairway on Walnut Street and a bicycle ramp crafted in Prairie Brown® granite from Coldspring. Due to its durability, granite provided the best option for the stairs and bicycle ramp.

Similarly, natural stone pedestrian walkways and paths continue as important elements of urban park design.

For ideas more, check out Main Avenue Bridge, Port of Los Angeles – Downtown Harbor and Tampa Riverwalk.

Pro Tip: Granite pavers are often used for bike paths and pedestrian walkways. Be sure to understand the differences in paver installation methods and the best applications for each. Learn how here.

Dilworth Park

Water Elements:

We’ve seen countless examples of designs utilizing water features to bring an element of play to the space. With a water feature in the design, a city’s park or plaza comes to life with sound and movement. In modern city designs, water features transcend the typical fountain into an interactive community experience.

For example, Dilworth Plaza in Philadelphia incorporates a 185- by 60-foot fountain in its pavers. The programmable fountain heads produce 3-foot-high sprays during warm months. The fountain of Mesabi Black® granite reflects City Hall’s beauty when the waters are inactive. When active, the fountain draws children from across Philadelphia to splash in its waters. A cistern underneath the plaza captures and stores rainwater to support the park’s irrigation system.

For more ideas, check out Denver Union Station, City Creek Fountains and Columbus Circle Fountain

CNC Technology Brings New Era of Stone DesignPro Tip: When it comes to water elements, precise stone cutting is absolutely essential. Coldspring’s advanced CNC fabrication technology can create even the most challenging designs with ease. Learn more here.

Open Spaces:

Vital to any cityscape is the open space that promotes quality of life for present and future generations. Open spaces that have a balance of hardscapes and softscapes break up the concrete jungle of many major cities, giving residents and guests the gift of wellbeing.

city gardenOne such space can be found in St. Louis at Citygarden park. Designed to provide a vibrant and serene urban oasis, Citygarden sits at the heart of the Gateway Mall, just a few blocks west of the famous Arch and Mississippi River. The two-square block space has been underused for decades and often sat idle as an open lawn with no clear purpose. The surrounding area had undergone significant revitalization efforts including two new stadiums and many new condominium developments.

The award-winning project was designed “to recognize an outstanding example of a well-used public open space that has spurred regeneration and the transformation of the surrounding community.”

For more ideas, check out Spring Creek Nature Area and The Yards Park

Pro Tip: When designing an open plaza, different finish options produce variety and color options in natural stone. Find out how.

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