Chairman of the University of Washington’s Department of Landscape Architecture, Jeff Hou, and eighteen of his students have worked with locals living in the International district to clean up and re-design a community park.
The International Children’s Park is now located on the corner of Seventh Avenue and South Lane. This plot, which only constitutes about one fifth of an acre had been overrun with vegetation and included a haphazard pile of rocks and soggy grass for the past thirty years. It was definitely not a welcoming park for both adults or children.
But that all changed when Hou, and his team of 18 students, began to collaborate with local artists, architectural designers, and community members living in the International district. Because this district of Seattle has seen an increasing number of residential and commercial developers, and many more visitors flocking to the Wing Luke Asian Museum, it was time that the run down community park was restored and developed to meet the recreational needs of its community.
Hou and his students held an intergenerational design workshop that allowed individuals and families living in the International district to share their own design ideas. It was important for the team to include the ideas and suggestions of the community in which the park would most likely be used by.
Karen Kiest, the lead landscape architect, finalized a park design that included a large children’s area with a play set that accommodates about a dozen children. Also, Gerard Tsutakawa restored an old and rusting dragon sculpture which is now placed in the park as well. For adults, there is a steel pagoda, which they can sit, relax, and visit while their children play nearby.
The International Children’s Park is considered the first park in Seattle that has received so much community involvement. It cost around $750,000 but much of the bill was covered by Parks and Green Spaces Levy, King County, Neighborhood Matchind Funds, and private donors.