InterPlay Park | Landscape Architecture Magazine

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Posted in CITIES, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, PARKS, RECREATION, THE BACK, tagged downtown, highway bridge park, InterPlay Park, Jennifer Reut, Peoria, Terrain Work, Theodore Hoerr on February 3, 2022| Leave a comment ”

A concept for InterPlay Park called “The Window” would allow visitors to observe road traffic below. Image by Terrain Work.

Freeway Park in Seattle, Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas. Although all three highway bridge parks are known outside of their home towns for their bold design and engineering, this is the third, per OJB, which has undoubtedly triggered a wave of similar projects in recent years. Cities and developers began looking to terraced parks as a way to revive ghostly downtowns and bring communities together after freeways cut through them in the 1960s and 1970s. An increased focus on reconnecting neighborhoods in debates around the infrastructure bill brought highway bridge parks to the national stage.

When I-74 passed through Peoria, Illinois, in 1958, it divided the city’s downtown area from adjacent neighborhoods, including several historical and cultural attractions. Stores left, people who could migrated to the suburbs, while others got stuck in declining neighborhoods due to redlining. With 113,000 residents, Peoria is a mid-sized city, not a large urban center like Seattle, Boston, or Dallas, and it doesn’t have the political or philanthropic base of a big city. But hometown propellants including Theodore Hoerr, ASLA, of the New York-based landscape architecture and urban design firm field work, believe that a park of highway bridges could do more than weave the scars of the city. “I would say it could transform the trajectory of downtown Peoria and the city itself,” Hoerr says. (Following…)

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