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51st Street Park


Long Beach, CA






Landscape Architecture

This new park will repurpose underused, unclaimed public right-of-way in North Long Beach to create much needed active open space for this park poor community while establishing a formal access point for the recently opened Deforest Wetlands.

The two-block long, one-acre park leverages over two dozen mature oak and sycamore trees to provide the sense of a long-established park for this neighborhood. The existing trees also provide a unique context for designing a youth-oriented, bicycle training course, complete with nearly twenty different street conditions for learning to bike safely. The two ends of the park are anchored by pedestrian plazas, with play spaces and fitness installations in between. Buffering the park from the adjacent street will be a walking trail, planting pockets, and flanking bioswale.

Urban + Systems

Planning + Policy

Building +  Interior

Landscape Architecture

The overall design benefited from incorporating the two dozen mature trees, providing unique conditions to navigate the kid-scaled street network. The training course includes varied roundabouts, intersections, ramps, and merging conditions for young bicyclists to learn to ride safely. The intersecting bikeways create a series of program nodes along the length of the park including fitness stations, playgrounds, and turf areas with earthen mounds. The landscape design extends the natural habitat of the Deforest Wetlands into the neighborhood while formalizing the planting schemes through the park. The existing mature trees were augmented with complimentary trees, to expand the dense urban forest that reduces the local urban heat island while buffering the neighborhood from the air, visual, noise, and light pollution from the nearby I-710 freeway. Rainwater will be sustainably harvested by a rocky bioswale running the length of the park, gathering and conveying stormwater runoff alongside a permeable pedestrian walkway that connects the neighborhood to the traffic garden, park interior, and wetlands beyond. The slope from the park’s west side will transport the runoff to the rainwater harvesting amenities along the east edge. The bioswale is filled with bioretention and low-impact development(LID) plants. These drought-resistant plants form a sponge to soak up excess rainwater and help to filter pollutants.



Community engagement as part of the design process sought to refine conceptual project elements initially crafted for the initial grant application for developing 51st Street Greenbelt. Spanish and English online surveys were promoted via listservs, social media, and newsletters by neighborhood associations and City Council District 8. Simultaneous to the online outreach, City Fabrick designed street pole signs and doorhangers that doubled as surveys in both Spanish and English for Conservation Corps of Long Beach staff to distribute while canvassing the neighborhood adjacent to the project site. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the team developed a hybrid in-person and virtual engagement strategy and were able to successfully get feedback from approximately 20% of all households living within the project area.



51st Street Park will be able to harvest, manage, and infiltrate 45% of the runoff from the site and adjacent streets. This improved rainfall retention can reduce annual runoff from 7 to 5 inches, according to the US EPA Stormwater calculator.