Unity Park

The site needed love, an abandoned lot on one of the busiest streets in Boston. The steep site climbs from the street to the back of the lot connecting visually to the established canopy of historic Franklin Park. We design to ‘borrow the view’ creating two distinct zones, a public plaza below and an open green above that connects visually to the park across the street. The lower plaza is hugged by a semi-circular bench backed by a pollinator garden, offering ample seating to watch kids in the splash pad at the center of the plaza.  A curved sloped walk brings you up to the open green and a custom concrete slide offers a fun way back down. Poplar groves create garden rooms with playful seating, and mounds define a circular stage, creating an informal amphitheater. Boulders catch grade and punctuate the space, and depending on the user invite a climb or offer a seat. 

This project was a collaboration between GDIRC who secured the grant and developed the engagement process and Lena Park Youth Council who developed the program and informed the design of the park. When you put teens at the helm they will deliver. Their design ethos was generous, they wanted space carved out for everyone- a place to play for the tots, plenty of shaded seating for the elders, and ample gathering space for community events. If you are interested in design strategies with and for teens please check out our research teen design strategies here.


Project Type: Public Park

Location: Dorchester, MA (2021)

Project completed while at G2 Collaborative (Sara Brunelle - design)

Team: GDIRC, Lena Park Youth Council, Studioful Design

Photos: Antonio Furgiuele

Awards: 2023 Boston Society of Landscape Architects Design Merit Award