The best public spaces are the ones that give back to their communities in a multitude of ways, as celebrated in the Urban Land Institute's Urban Open Space Award. The annual award recognizes exemplary small and large-scale public spaces that have successfully socially enriched and revitalized the economy of their communities.
The winner is scheduled to be announced during the ULI Fall Meeting in New York City in October 21-23. A US$10,000 prize will be awarded to the organization or person most responsible for the creation and maintenance of the project.
Find out what the finalist projects are right below.
After visiting and evaluating each of the sites, the jury selected the following finalists:
Columbus Commons and Scioto Mile (Columbus, Ohio): "In 2002, the City of Columbus identified the need to attract and retain residents and businesses Downtown. The City tapped CDDC and Capitol South to help achieve this goal. After careful consideration, plans were made to develop two new parks – Columbus Commons, in place of a desolate mall, and Scioto Mile, which involved narrowing a thoroughfare along the Scioto River and renovated an existing park. They opened in 2011 and together have catalyzed over $200 million in private investment, attract 1.5 million visitors annually, and are often credited with spurring on Downtown Columbus’ rebirth. At seven acres, Columbus Commons features formal gardens, a carousel, native trees, two cafés with copious seating, and a state-of-the-art performing arts pavilion. The 11-acre Scioto Mile features a multi-use trail, swings, benches, fountains, and seating pavilions along a promenade that leads to the showpiece of the park – a 15,000 square foot interactive water feature adjacent to a café and stage."
Guthrie Green (Tulsa, Oklahoma): "Guthrie Green transforms a 2.6-acre truck loading facility into a lively, highly programmed urban park offering an outdoor amphitheater, performance stage, interactive fountains, and an 11,000-square-foot café pavilion. Built and managed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), the park has become the area’s leading destination since its 2012 opening, drawing 3,000 people every week to daily park activities and sparking $150 million investment in a variety of public, commercial, and residential projects within the emerging 19-block Brady Arts District of downtown Tulsa." Read more here.
Klyde Warren Park (Dallas, Texas): "Klyde Warren Park is Dallas’s new town square that has literally and figuratively bridged the city’s downtown cultural district with the burgeoning mixed-use neighborhoods to the north, reshaping the city and catalyzing economic development. The park brings Dallasites together in new ways, with dozens of free activities and amenities to offer every week, from concerts and lectures to games and fitness classes, all within a beautiful fiveacre jewel." Read more here.
The Railyard Park and Plaza (Santa Fe, New Mexico): "Railyard Park + Plaza is the culmination of two decades of community activism that enabled citizens to retain control over the largest downtown development to conserve the open space in perpetuity as a community asset emphasizing local cultures, businesses and artists. Built in 1880, the original Railyard was a key component of Santa Fe’s identity. The project reclaimed an important cultural area of the city that had fallen into decline, and restored it to provide free activities open to the community that offer social viability, healthful activity, and vibrant artistic elements." Read more here.
- Washington Park (Cincinnati, Ohio): "[After falling into decades of disinvestment and criminal activity,] the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) and the City of Cincinnati began to turn the neighborhood around upon recognizing the value of the neighborhood’s historic buildings and the negative impact of the criminal element on the business district. The turnaround ultimately lead Washington Park through a $48M renovation that would transform the neighborhood." Read more here.
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