The urban green space was one of five finalists in this international competition; Madrid also a winner
HOUSTON, October 9, 2018 – The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced at its annual Fall Meeting today in Boston that Levy Park Houston is a winner of the prestigious 2018 ULI Urban Open Space Award, a worldwide competition. Madrid Rio Park was a co-winner. The annual award recognizes outstanding examples of successful large- and small-scale public spaces that have socially enriched and revitalized the economies of their surrounding communities and are selected by an international jury representing different facets of development. Levy Park, which underwent a $15 million revitalization and renovation, was one of five finalists, with the others from Lynwood, California; Fall River, Massachusetts; Changsha, China; and Madrid, Spain. Lynwood’s Ricardo Lara Linear Park won for Community Impact.
Each year, the ULI Fall Meeting brings together more than 6,000 leaders from every sector of the real estate industry, including investors, architects, planners, brokers, academics, attorneys, decision makers and public officials. Upper Kirby District Executive Director Travis Younkin and Levy Park’s Park Director Stephanie Kiouses were on hand when the Urban Space Award was announced in the General Session. Chip Traseger, Design Director of the Levy Park project for OJB Landscape Architecture, was also at the conference, as was architect Natalye Appel, Natalye Appel and Associates, who was also a partner.
“We are thrilled that Levy Park was chosen for this award from projects both in the United States and embraced by residents and out-of-town visitors alike for its wide array of amenities and innovative design,” says Younkin.
Levy Park is a City of Houston Park and part of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, while operated by the Levy Park Conservancy, under the auspices of the Upper Kirby District Foundation. Since opening in February 2017, the Park has become one of the City’s premiere urban green spaces.
“The Park’s user-friendly design, variety of adult and children’s programming and welcoming spirit have drawn people in and keep them coming back,” added Kiouses, Park Director for Levy Park. “This award validates the vision that several forward-thinking individuals had for Levy Park as an idyllic community haven in the heart of Houston.”
OJB Landscape Architecture (OJB) was the designer for the Levy Park revitalization. This is OJB’s third urban park to be recognized by the ULI, as the firm previously won consecutive Urban Open Space Awards for Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City (2015) and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas (2014).
The redesigned park fills many programming needs for the bustling Upper Kirby neighborhood and for people from throughout Greater Houston. Built with public funds and sustained primarily by private lease agreements with the Midway Companies, the Park features activity and event lawns, performance pavilion, dog park, promenade with seating and games, community garden and rain garden, both which harvest and reuse stormwater. At the heart of Levy Park is the unique Children’s Park, which offers imaginative, interactive sculptures, playful fountains and a 150-foot-long ADA-accessible tree house situated among several large legacy live oak trees that were relocated on-site and provide a magnificent canopy.
“We are honored to have Levy Park recognized in such an exceptional way with the ULI award,” says Traseger, FASLA and OJB Landscape Architecture Managing Principal. “Levy Park has become a top destination for Houstonians and a must-see open space for visitors. The Park’s series of unique play and entertainment spaces, featuring mature 40’ live oaks within the beautiful six-acre urban site, are truly inspiring.”
Since opening in February of 2017, the Park has seen attendance soar to more than 7,000 visitors per week. With a daily roster of free, day- and night-time activities, varying from concerts and movie nights to exercise programs and photography workshops, Levy Park welcomes a diverse range of visitors. The revitalization of Levy Park reimagines the urban oasis and provides a quality of city life and sense of community that many are seeking.
OJB worked closely with the Levy Park Conservancy, Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority and the entire Levy Park project team. These included:
- Landscape Architect: OJB Landscape Architecture
- Architect: Natalye Appel + Associates
- Civil Engineer: Ward, Getz & Associates
- Structural Engineer: Matrix Structural Engineers
- MEP: Wylie Consulting Engineers
- Water Feature Consultant: Fountain Source
- Park Consultant: Biederman Redevelopment Ventures
- Security/WiFi: 4b Technology
- Wayfinding: Minor Design
- Soil Consultant: Dirt N Turf
- General Contractor: Burton Construction
- Hardscape/Landscape/Water Feature/Irrigation Contractor: B&D Contractors
About Levy Park
Levy Park is a vibrant, urban, six-acre City of Houston park located in the heart of the Upper Kirby District. Levy Park Conservancy, an affiliate of the Upper Kirby District Foundation, is the private, nonprofit organization responsible for the maintenance, operation, and programming of Levy Park. Learn more about Levy Park at levyparkhouston.org. Levy Park can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @levyparkhouston.