Santa Monica’s Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square projects were honored with a National Achievement Award for Urban Design from the American Planning Association on March 31.
The project was one of 12 National Achievement Award and 17 Planning Excellence Award designees out of hundreds of submissions recognized on the national stage.
This award comes in addition to previous accolades earned from the Los Angeles and California chapters of the APA for achievements in urban design.
Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown said Tongva Park used to be an underutilized urban swath of asphalt.
“We have unpaved a parking lot and put up Paradise,” McKeown said. “Tongva Park is a transformational project embodying excellence in urban design, offering new connectivity in anticipation of the pending arrival of light rail nearby, and providing amenities for all members of our community, both residents and visitors. We are thrilled that the APA National Awards Jury has recognized the success of this project in serving the people of Santa Monica.”
Once a flat parking lot, Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square are a new type of urban landscape that engages visitors and restores the area’s ecosystem.
Opened in 2013 after nearly 20 years of planning efforts, the parks cover 7.4 acres and offer a lush landscape featuring rolling hills, meadows and gardens that overlook the Pacific Ocean and the historic Santa Monica Pier.
Social spaces are designed for quiet reflection or large community gatherings. The parks also provide physical linkages between the Civic Center and the western edge of the city.
The location is just two blocks from the future terminus of the new light rail line connecting Santa Monica to various points within Los Angeles.
Since opening to the public in 2013, the parks have played host to concerts on the wide lawn, picnics and celebrations of art and expression.