WDG & the Urban Land Institute

We are excited to announce that the Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently featured a story about WDG project Meander Bend Park. We were thrilled to have a national organization interested in our work and how Pima County is approaching issues of climate resiliency. Meander Bend Park is located off the Santa Cruz River and proposes a water harvesting park with earthworks created from sediment dredged from the River. A triple-bottom-line cost-benefit analysis with Autocase revealed an estimated $9.8 million in net present value over 50 years. High five for green infrastructure!

Read the full ULI story here.

The proposed site of Meander Bend Park

The Meander Bend Park story resulted in an invitation from ULI to attend their “Developing Equitable Parks and Open Space Workshop” in Nashville, Tennessee on April 15-16. WDG Designer Alex Stoicof attended the workshop with a small group of stakeholders from around the country to discuss parks and equity.

Some of the key themes of the workshop were:

  • The importance of public and private partnerships and the need to engage the business and real estate community in the pursuit of high quality parks

  • The importance of Operations and Maintenance, and the need to include Maintenance during design reviews

  • The complexity of a definition of a “high quality park” - from user experience and community connections, to sustainability and long-term park “life cycles”

  • The value of data in terms of measuring trends and creating a framework for accountability

As designers, it is easy to get entranced in design and leave conversations of equity to decision-makers. This workshop was eye-opening to the need for landscape architects to be more involved with larger conversations, as design decisions can have an enormous impact on how equity is actually reflected in the creation of a park.

The Workshop included two tours of Azafran Park and Cumberland Park. Pictures from the Workshop and park tours are below. Thank you to ULI for the opportunity to be involved with this important discussion!