Planning for Open Space in Redevelopment of Friendship Court
Within a ten-minute walk, the only open green space where families from Friendship Court can play and socialize is the grassy field that faces 6th St. The community of Friendship Court, particularly families with children, deeply values many aspects of that existing space, including the basketball court, the garden, and the ability to let kids run and play safely.
Previous blog posts have pointed out that the phased redevelopment of Friendship Court (construction in a sequence over multiple phases) is the only way to redevelop without displacing residents. Given that phased construction is the way forward, the single available location to build Phase 1 is the existing open green space. Given the temporary loss of this open space during construction, the resident-led Advisory Committee has recognized the critical importance of rebuilding quality open spaces as soon as possible.
Given the complexity and impact of phased redevelopment on the daily lives of residents, the Advisory Committee has given a great deal of thought to how to create high-quality open spaces for the community as redevelopment unfolds. In particular, the Advisory Committee designed a phasing plan that creates open space within each individual Phase. Further, the overall plan considers how to connect each phases’ open space to the other so that they ultimately tie together, strengthening each other, when redevelopment is complete.
Phase I Plan
In the most recent series of design exercises with architects Grimm + Parker, the Advisory Committee worked to balance the need for high-quality outdoor spaces with a limited land area and the proximity of some proposed public spaces to future homes.
At the beginning of the design process, the Advisory Committee spent time prioritizing not only the ideal kinds of spaces, but also the qualities of those spaces. A broad list of qualities was identified, but the strongest priorities that emerged were family time, safety and shade/trees. As the design process unfolded, the Advisory Committee repeatedly referred back to these qualities as guiding principles for the design.
The result of the Advisory Committee’s work achieves a remarkable equilibrium between tight spaces, opportunities for quieter socializing, places for different age groups of children to play within common sight of parents, and a balance of shade and openness.
The limited land area of Phase 1 couldn’t fit all open space types and qualities, in particular exercise-encouraging movement, a larger community garden, and a fitness trail. As other Phases are designed and developed, additional opportunities for prioritizing a different set of qualities and types of spaces will continue.