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1998 Cascade Community Park

This project stems from collaboration between the design/build program and residents from the Cascade community and small inner city neighborhood in Seattle, WA. The community has been under threat from gentrification and loosing open space through development. The community proposed the reclamation of a small parcel of land as an adopt-a-park and partnered with our program to design and implement a community park.

The community requested that the garden be composed of demonstration areas to inform the public on sustainable landscape practices. To achieve this we proposed the following:

  • The rainwater from the surrounding roof surfaces would be captured in an underground cistern and used for irrigation.
  • Create a community gathers pavilion structure.
  • Use recycled or green materials where ever possible.
  • All the plants used in the design would be native.
  • Set aside an area for a salvage plant nursery.
  • Provide an educational component.

Additional student goals:

  • Combine the rainwater storage and pavilion to conserve space and provide a cover for the cistern.
  • Provide an outdoor plaza to house community celebrations.

After eight weeks of construction the Cascade community cut the ribbon for an adopt-a-park as the children from a near by school looked upon the bioswale they had recently planted. The 8000-gallon cistern supplies water for a smaller holding cistern from which the garden is irrigated. The pavilion, decked with plastic lumber provides the community with gathering place beneath a roof supporting a variety of vines that in time will become literally a green roof of kiwi, grapes and clematis. The composting demonstration site is producing fresh organic matter and the plants, labeled by species serves as a community botanical garden educating visitors and school children like. The park, once a weed invested lot now serves as a place of celebration for the community an as a place of refuge for the women in the transitional housing project across the street. As a model the project offers a powerful example of land recycling through community participation.