Bridging The City One Park at A Time

Lucia Bayley, Arch 542A '21

  • FA.21
  • Level: graduate
  • Discipline: Landscape Architecture
  • Instructor: Jessica Henson

The city of Long Beach is located in Los Angeles County in the state of California. This city is part of the California Floristic Province Biodiversity Hotspot, meaning that most of the state of California, holds a wide variety of unique ecosystems. In the last century this city went from having 600 residents in 1902 to having 350,000 population in 1964, provoking a great loss in the biodiversity of the area. Today only a quarter of the original vegetation in the region remains in the city of Long Beach.

Presently, the city of Long Beach has a total of 804 park acres. These parks are scattered around the city. While some of them host endangered ecosystems, all of them would benefit from a connection between them.

According to the National Parks and Recreation Association each city needs 10 acres of parkland per 1000 people and each citizen should live within half a mile walk from a park. Los Angeles County has an approximate value of 3.3 park acres per 1000 people. For the purpose of the assessment the city of Long Beach was divided into 5 regions having 3 of the 5 regions marked in the high or very high need for parks.

As previous facts depict, the city of long beach presents high levels of disconnection; Not only the preexisting habitats have been forced to disconnect by the new imposed system of urban sprawl, but the people of the area have also lost their opportunity to connect with nature.

The proposed framework is based on three stages each one tackles one of the proposed scenarios while also improving the connection of the city itself without displacing residents from the city that is being reconnected to.

I. For the need for parks, parks will be created but these ones will be created above the river weaving the opposing sides of the city while also creating the opportunity for flora and fauna to migrate through these thick corridors.

II. Floodplains will be created right next to some areas of the river allowing for water to flow and mainly, as an opportunity for ecosystems to establish.

III. Lastly, to connect those existing parks around the city, green corridors & connectors will be created by increasing the variety of native plants in certain streets and homes. This will help connect people through neighborhoods but also increase the migration corridors for fauna.

To conclude, the new implemented project will reconnect eight-hundred-and-fifty acres of land through eighty miles of green corridors; Three-hundred-and-fifty acres of parkland will be created, which will increase the park acreage from 1.8 to 4.5 per one thousand people in the selected neighborhoods. In addition, it will provide seventy acres of new restored habitats for ecosystems to takeover