Honor Award -- Analysis & Planning
Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan
Los Angeles, California
Mia Lehrer + Associates; Hood Design
Senior Partner, Mia Lehrer + Associates
3780 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Statement of Purpose: The two square miles of the Baldwin Hills is the last undeveloped open space in the Los Angeles urban area. The landscape has been a resource for oil and gas production since 1924. The goals and objectives of the park include acquiring oil fields; restoring natural landscapes; creating recreation- based economic development; protecting unique scenic vistas; developing a comprehensive trail system; connecting to Ballona Creek; providing job and education opportunities; developing active recreation sites; providing community gathering areas; and developing parkland. A conservancy is leading the effort to create the Baldwin Hills Park in partnership with federal, state, and local elected officials, public agencies, and members of the community.
Community Context: The park site is surrounded by on all sides by mature urban fabric composed of residential, commercial, institutional and cemetery land uses. The communities adjacent to the park site are ethnically and socially diverse.
Role of Landscape Architect: The Landscape Architect team developed an extensive community workshop process and created a master plan for the two-square mile urban park. The master plan contains a comprehensive vision identifying key usage areas, the park program and a strategy for the creation of wildlife corridors and habitat restoration areas.
Special Factors: The site has been extensively developed for oil drilling and processing operation during the 20th century. Significant natural habitat areas remain, and many will be restored to a natural condition. The Baldwin Hills are a key component of the 127-square mile Ballona Creek watershed, and are part of a natural landform extending from Los Angeles to Newport Beach in Orange County. A six land divided roadway currently bisects the site.
The hills provide stunning views of the entire Los Angeles basin, from 10,000-foot high Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains to all of Santa Monica Bay. The Baldwin Hills were part of the original Rancho La Ballona, Rancho Rincon de Los Bueyes and Rancho Cienega O'Paso de la Tijera.
The site is located in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. It borders the City of Los Angeles and Culver City. Inter-jurisdictional operation and maintenance of the park currently includes all local jurisdictions and the State Department of Parks and Recreation.
Significance: The addition of 900 acres of parkland represents a significant opportunity to correct a vast inequity in the distribution of park space in urban Los Angeles. Recent studies have shown that even with recent efforts to fund open space acquisition and improvements higher income neighborhoods have much greater open space resources than poorer areas in Los Angeles. This project also represents the first series efforts to restore large areas of natural habitat in a fully urbanized portion of this city and to consider the economic development of an urban regional part of the park design process.