Freeway Park

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Brutalist fountain, Freeway Park, circa 1970s.
The park winds its way down First Hill, offering both a staircase and wheelchair-accessible ramps.

Freeway Park in Seattle, Washington, United States, extends from Downtown Seattle, where it adjoins the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, to First Hill. The park bridges over Interstate 5 and a large city-owned parking lot; 8th Avenue bridges over the park. An unusual mixture of brutalist architecture and greenery, the 5.2-acre (21,000 m2) park, designed by Lawrence Halprin's office under the supervision of Angela Danadjieva, opened to the public July 4, 1976. A later addition to the park winds several blocks up First Hill, with a staircase and wheelchair ramp.

A series of crimes, notably a January 18, 2002 murder, briefly gave the park a reputation as a haven for crime and led to calls for a radical redesign.[1] Many at first attributed the dangers to the design of the park. A neighborhood group formed under the name Freeway Park Neighborhood Association (FPNA) collaborated with the city's parks and recreation department to produce an "activation plan" for the park, published in 2005 as "A New Vision for Freeway Park". The report concluded that the park's problems could be remedied by numerous small changes: increased security patrols, better lighting, pruning back of certain plants, and above all increased use, both in terms of organized events and simply encouraging more convention center visitors to use the park.[2] The strategy, only partly implemented as of summer 2005, seems to be succeeding: according to David Brewster of the FPNA, crime in the park is down 90% compared to that of 2002.[3][4]

The park is also a significant cultural landscape as a masterwork of a modernist master and a precedent setting park that single-handedly defined a new land-use typology for American cities.[5]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Mudede, Charles (Aug 22 – Aug 28, 2002), Topography of Terror, The Stranger, retrieved 2009-05-31  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ A New Vision for Freeway Park, Seattle Parks Department, retrieved 2005-09-03 
  3. ^ David Brewster (August 16, 2005), Freeway Park (interview with David Brewster), KUOW Weekday, retrieved 2009-05-31 
  4. ^ Iwasaki, John (July 19, 2005), Improvements bringing people back to Freeway Park, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, retrieved 2009-05-31 
  5. ^ Brice Maryman + Liz Birkholz (2007), Freeway Park/Past, Present and Future?, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, retrieved 2009-05-31 

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Coordinates: 47°36′35″N 122°19′52″W / 47.60972°N 122.33111°W / 47.60972; -122.33111