James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) won the international design competition for the transformation of a 4,500 acre former penal farm into a new urban park for Memphis. The JCFO Master Plan was approved by the County Commission in 2008, and an ambitious phase 1 implementation design broke ground in 2010. A strategic threefold concept of “One Park, One Million Trees, Twelve Landscapes,” defines the new park. “One Park” addresses the goals of unity, connectivity, sense-of-place, ecosystem, identity and inclusion. New circulation pathways, tree plantings, gateways, signage and consistent design elements will shape the Park as one. “One Million New Trees” addresses the goals of ecological improvement and biodiversity, connecting habitat areas, defining edges, shaping rooms and screening out undesirable views.
“Twelve Landscapes” addresses the diversity and richness of the different areas of the site, the varied user group demands, and the definition of future management zones. At the centre of the Park is a magnificent new lake, supporting fish habitat and wide range of non-motorised water sport activities.
The design for the Woodland Discovery Playground is intended to foster play and discovery, embracing fun and delight while cultivating healthy development of children’s physical and social well-being. Set within a natural woodland context, the playground provides an environment that promotes interaction and engagement -- children must enter, move around and look for opportunities to slide, climb, run, scramble, swing, build, find and discover.
The playground is one of the first projects to meet ambitious SITES™ performance benchmarks for ecological and human well-being. The Sustainable Sites Initiative® aims to change the world of landscapes by creating a voluntary rating system on par with the LEED® ratings for green buildings.