Mia Lehrer and Kush Parekh Open Up About Open Space at Hollywood Park

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Los Angeles scores highly when it comes to the sheer amount of public space (thanks to a bump from Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains) but in reality, our sprawling garden city is still quite park-poor.  The fact that a major urban development project like Hollywood Park is integrating over 25 acres into the design is remarkable, so Hollywood Park Life was happy to sit down with Kush Parekh and his boss Mia Lehrer of Mia Lehrer + Associates to get the scoop on how Hollywood Park is changing the conversation about open space in LA.

The master plan for Hollywood Park includes an interconnected series of parks which serve dual purposes, both performative and recreational. To the visitor, the parks will range from a grand civic plaza to large active green spaces to areas prioritizing habitat and nature education. Champion Plaza is a large open plaza in the sports and entertainment area. Lake Park is the central park, and connects the community’s retail areas to the sports and entertainment venue and adjacent neighborhoods. Arroyo Park is a linear, meandering, naturalistic park. Bluff Park is an active recreational public space that includes a dog park and space for organized sports. When seen and experienced as a larger system, the parks and lake will act as an integrated storm water management system, something that concrete-covered Los Angeles needs desperately. Arroyo Park serves as a natural filtration system, which collects water from the residential neighborhood, naturally filters it via vegetation, and routes it to Lake Park, which doubles as a detention basin. Notably, there are no gates or fences, leaving the parklands open and porous.

“This development is designed around an open framework of green spaces,” said Parekh. “The landscape itself will tell the story of the Mediterranean biome. We’re curating a botanical experience with plants from five different parts of the world, including Southern California that share this biome, to educate residents and visitors about climate-appropriate planting and landscape design.”

Mia Lehrer + Associates has been involved in the Hollywood Park project since the initial planning stages, pushing the boundaries on how to address public open space.  Landscape and open space has been at the core of the design since the inception of the process.  Parks would be the background for a proposed stadium, the foreground for retail, and the main stage for the indoor-outdoor Californian lifestyle.  By playing with setbacks, width of sidewalks, and roads, the team hopes to create a unique garden setting within this new urban context.

“Developers understand the value of public open space, but it can still be elusive,” adds Lehrer. “With Hollywood Park, the ambition is to create a community that is richer and more diverse, that really celebrates the DNA of Los Angeles.  Everyone on the team was game to play out this new paradigm.”

“The most exceptional thing about Hollywood Park is that you have a series of smaller (yet grand) spaces, each providing unique experiences, that add up into a balanced and efficient development. It’s going to be a pretty spectacular place,” says Parekh.

Stay tuned to the blog for more information about the parks.  Follow Mia and Kush here to see what else they’re up to.

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