For each project assigned within the studio, I sought out a community leader or a resident of the neighborhood as a resource and guide. To gain a greater understanding of the neighborhood before designing landscape implementations, I met with youth of the community at Our Next Generation Inc. in order to discuss their visions for the future of the Washington Park Neighborhood, This experience was eye-opening. It was incredibly devastating to learn the youth within the area were not able to experience their outdoor environment due to safety concerns. Many of the students explained that they rarely traveled alone and the outdoor activities they preferred were conducive to large group participation such as, planned outdoor events or festivals.
I asked students to map their daily route from either Westside Academy I or Westside Academy II to Our Next Generation and based on their responses, I established a network of outdoor venues that followed the students' common path of travel. In developing the network of landscaping initiatives, I found it important to consider aspects of safety when I designed spaces that would promote and attract large group activity use. I wanted to design spaces that enhanced health and well-being while also offering opportunities to increase cognitive development.
Many of my suggestion are intended to be adaptable over day and night as well as seasonally. For example, I propose that one of the vacant lots on W Lisbon Ave.could be turned into a velodrome cycling park that could be utilized throughout the day and night by different age groups. To increase adaptability between seasonal changes, the velodrome could be altered to hold a small outdoor ice-skating rink during the winter. Each activity space was planned in such a way that it would be visible from the adjacent activity space producing a network or chain of interrelated public spaces along a common path. In doing so, I predict that the number of people using the outdoor environment may increase, promoting safe pedestrian paths and offering youth and adults the ability to participate in multi-generational outdoor activities.