On Tuesday, City Park Conservancy (CPC) announced the hiring of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA) to create a long-range plan to improve and sustain New Orleans City Park.
CPC and City Park Improvement Association boards voted unanimously to approve MVVA’s contract after a competitive open search to solicit bids for the project. MVVA is one of the most highly regarded landscape architecture firms in the world, which has rejuvenated, designed, and built hundreds of public spaces in the United States and abroad since its founding in 1982. The firm has a demonstrated background in public parks, recreation, ecological sciences, disaster recovery and resiliency, park operations, planning and design services, and creating transformative moments for major cities.
“This comprehensive plan will address the Park’s unique ecology and urban tree canopy; its existing assets, waterways and other infrastructure; and Park programming for today’s Park user and for generations to come,” said City Park Conservancy President and CEO Cara Lambright. “We are elated to partner with MVVA on this forward-thinking and progressive approach to continuous Park improvement. MVVA is custom built for this role, having deep experience in designing catalytic projects around the world. Throughout each project, they have shown a dedication to listening to the public. We look forward to working with them as we engage with the community and ask, ‘How can City Park better serve you?’.”
The firm will lead CPC’s ambitious 18-month master-planning process, which will steward New Orleans City Park throughout the next century. MVVA will rely on its own design experts, as well as local subcontractors, and the public to craft a roadmap for the Park’s continued preservation and evolution.
MVVA has conducted extensive research to assemble a diverse team of collaborators with perspectives that can expand the reach and strength of their work. Team members include both local experts with in-depth knowledge of the region, and experts from multiple disciplines—including ecologists, hydrologists, graphic designers, and economic planners, among others—who will help craft a comprehensive vision for the Park. This acre-by-acre plan will include extensive studies, public input, and an iterative design process.
“City Park is beloved because it is both historic and dynamic, just like New Orleans itself,” said Michael Van Valkenburgh, Founder and Creative Director of MVVA. “While working to preserve and expand the greatness of what already exists, MVVA also looks forward to discovering what City Park is missing and what needs to evolve so that our work prepares the Park to meet the challenges of its next hundred years.”
“A successful, inclusive master-planning process with sustainable results will serve to inspire other forward-thinking actions in the Greater New Orleans region and outside of New Orleans,” said City Park Conservancy Board of Directors Chair, Liz Sloss. “Our success in the endeavor will prove that the city deserves, and is capable of attaining, and maintaining, a world-class, memorable space in line with the most significant, recognizable parks in the world.”
A truly comprehensive plan is backed by the community and belongs to the community. CPC encourages individuals to sign up here today to receive upcoming information regarding engagement and input opportunities.
This plan is made possible through a lead gift from the Greg Keller Foundation.
“City Park is much-loved by New Orleanians and community members from around the region,” said Greg Keller. “Support of this plan and the future of City Park is a catalyst for change in the city and will improve our collective health, appreciation of nature, green space conservation, stormwater management, and the overall quality of life that helps make our city great.”
Park lovers and the public will have a chance to hear from MVVA founder Michael Van Valkenburgh at the State of the Park Breakfast on September 27 at 9am. For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, click here. For those who cannot attend the breakfast in person, the keynote address will be live streamed at NewOrleansCityPark.org and on the Park’s Facebook and Instagram channels.
For more information on the master-planning process and how to become involved, click HERE.