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Merit Award - DESIGN

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Anaheim and Disneyland Resort Urban Design Plans

SWA Group

William Callaway, FASLA
President, SWA Group
580 Broadway, Suite 200
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Tel. 949-497-5471;
Fax 949-494-7861

Project Purpose

The purpose of the project was to establish a comprehensive urban design plan for the redevelopment of the area surrounding a world-famous theme park, and through the design to visually transform an aging suburban environment into a garden-Iike destination resort. The focus of the project was on the streets and public spaces that surround the existing theme park and the proposed expansion areas, as well as the traditional urban design elements of land use, circulation, building massing, and infrastructure.

Role of the Landscape Architect and Other Participants

The Landscape Architect:

A. Developed basic design principles as well as detailed regulations and guidelines that were implemented by numerous other landscape architects as phased construction has proceeded.

B. Prepared entitlement documents, including two Specific Plans that were seamlessly integrated with each other to insure the consistency and quality of the public and quasi-public (setback) improvements.

C. Prepared landscape architectural drawings for a substantial amount of the public streets and setbacks surrounding the existing and new theme park.

Other major participants, other than the two clients (Walt Disney Imagineering and The City of Anaheim) supported the team in the areas of land use planning, sign and monument design, and environmental consulting.


Special Factors

A. The specific regulations and guidelines create a unique, unifying identity for the district that helps fulfill visitors' expectation for an exotic resort environment, while allowing flexibility on areas of individual parcels that are out of public view.

B. The plan's emphasis on landscape provides an economical and powerful means to visually unify and transform the district (including a dizzying array of existing architecture), as there was no financial or political means (such as a redevelopment district or tax increment financing) to consolidate properties, demolish buildings and build new buildings.

C. Cooperative effort of major landowner and city to create two separate plans with a seamless integration of public improvements over large area with hundreds of landowners and properties ranging is size from less than one acre to more than 400 acres


A. The civic-scaled landscape of the district leaves a powerful impression on visitors of the effectiveness of landscape in transforming aging urban environments

B. The simplicity of the overall landscape design is reflected in the basic concepts, which emphasize the use of geometry to create unity and scale; diversity in plant material to create an exotic, subtropical resort environment; and the predominance of drought tolerant, low maintenance plants for economy and responsible resource management.

C. By establishing a friendly, attractive, safe and pervasive pedestrian environment, the Plan also encourages the 20 million visitors that come to the district each year to enjoy it on foot, where the beauty of the design is best appreciated.

2001 Award Winners
Press Release
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