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Washington Square Park Vision Study

Kansas City Design Center

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Project Description

In 2011-12, the KCDC urban design studio conducted a study for a Comprehensive Vision Plan for Green and Civic Space in Downtown KCMO. In addition to developing a comprehensive vision plan KCDC was asked by its two main stakeholders, KCMO Parks and Recreation Department, and Downtown Council Greens Space Committee, to develop an implementation plan and define implementation priorities. Consequently, the Washington Square Park was selected and recommended as the most important element of the whole vision plan whose redesign embodied catalytic potential to redefine urban character of the entire downtown area.

The urban design studio work and the process documented herein traces our efforts to build on our previous work, expand and elaborate our understanding of the contextual circumstances that bear on the illumination of design possibilities, and capture the volatility of the changing city as it casts its shadow over the site as a premonition of what is yet to be concluded and envisioned towards seeing the chance of a better place. We have done all this as our contribution to the second phase of the project for Washington Square Park and the construction of the base upon which our project professional team associates, Coen + Partners, could build their own work.

The objective of the project was two fold: to extend the study that had already begun two years ago with the introduction of an overall comprehensive plan for the system of green and civic spaces in the downtown KCMO area; and to capitalize on the ongoing urban improvement changes [such as implementation of the first streetcar line] and envision the redefinition of the southern edge of the downtown area, transforming it into a new urban hub that centers on Washington Square Park. While historically and topologically significant, Washington Square Park is currently a blank spot in the order of the city and the project focused on recapturing the potential of the place and turning it into much needed civic spaces with the capacity to reorder the entire downtown area and breathe new life into it.
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