2009 Urban Plazas Award

Successful Urban Plazas & Nature Spaces Exhibit

47th IMCL Conference, Portland, OR
May 10-14, 2009


Urban Plazas Award

Jamison Square, Portland, OR
City of Portland Parks & Recreation; Peter Walker & Partners

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Jamison Square is intended to reinforce the identity and image of the surrounding neighborhood; to enhance and foster retail uses on ground level of adjacent structures; to provide a venue for Arts community (displays and exhibits); and to provide a flexible space for a variety of uses, such as performance, gathering and  socializing.

The park incorporates a Boardwalk that is used to feature the work of local artists.  The focal point of the park is the Spring, interpreted as a low basalt wall /fountain.  Water gushes out of the joints in the stone, spilling out into a shallow  “tidal pool” pool. When the fountain is not in use, the plaza can become an amphitheater for small performances. A generous lawn area creates spaces places to relax in the sun or in the shade.

Park users are a diverse group including residents, employees, shoppers and people from all over the city, especially on a hot day.


Urban Plazas Commendation

Courthouse Square, Toronto, ON, CANADA
Janet Rosenberg & Associates; City of Toronto

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Courthouse Square is a loved and frequently-used public space in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Visited by nearby residents and workers, the square provides the ideal space for gatherings, quiet contemplation, and performances.

Courthouse Square consists of a garden area enclosed by trellises where the plantings were designed to be historical and educational.  At the core of the plaza is a black granite plinth or stage, used for impromptu performances or casual seating.  The openness of the square also allows for gathering of people and spontaneous interaction as well as space for local events.  A water feature distracts from noise created by automobiles.  Large granite books atop the stage and incorporated into benches are the work of artist Susan Schell who wanted to evoke the legal nature of the surrounding buildings, especially the courthouse.  Custom wrought iron light features supporting flowering vines were chosen in lieu of street trees.


Nature Spaces Award

HTO, Toronto, ON, CANADA
Janet Rosenberg & Associates; City of Toronto

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Completed in June 2007, HtO, Toronto’s new urban beach along the waterfront, quickly became a popular and frequently-used public space that has attracted wide-spread international attention to Toronto’s waterfront development.  The success of the design is demonstrated in how quickly people of all age groups have embraced HtO and identified the park as a much needed addition to Toronto’s downtown.  From rollerblading and biking to picnicking and castle-building, HtO offers the flexibility required by a dense residential community that thirsts for a nature-inspired experience, a unique backyard of their own.


Nature Spaces Commendation

Riverfront Commemorative Park Plazas, Corvallis, OR
Walker Macy; City of Corvallis

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Riverfront Commemorative Park has reunited community members with the Willamette River. This network of plazas, trails, and streetscape has helped to revitalize Corvallis’ historic downtown, created a space for large events and casual recreation, and has also enhanced the riverbank. This active and successful space is the result of many years of community-wide deliberation and collaboration and has provided a locus for civic pride.

The park is network of distinct plazas linked by a sinuous multi-modal trail, covering over 25 acres along 4,300 feet of riverfront. Each plaza has a unique theme, with amenities for various types of recreation and public gatherings, including a Farmer’s Market. The trail is used daily by pedestrians and cyclists of all ages, and connects to regional trails, which has made it a popular jogging area. Scenic overlooks punctuate the route and contain interpretive features that provide access to the river and its history. The plazas also feature public art and a performance stage for community music and theatre events.