Waves: The Temporal and Dynamic identity of Urban Forests

Nehali Doshi, MLA+U ’22

ARCH 541B: Landscape Architecture Design

Gallery: Topographies for Succession: A New Forest in MacArthur Park

Instructor: Takako Tajima

In this project, a successional 100 year urban forest on the theme of the words ‘Waves and Ripples’ is proposed for MacArthur Park, which is popular and used public park in the city.

With the use of sketch models made using various materials, the unique qualities, nature and tendencies of waves were studied and analyzed. The constant undulation, the crests and the fall and the idea of waves being a ripple effect, each one depending on the last one, were what inspired ad informed the design decisions further on.

The final design proposal finds itself influenced by the character of waves, not just in its form and topography but also in its ideological concept and planning. The theme of waves being temporal is what was found to resonate with landscape as well. The design then attempts to explore how a public urban park while serving the community can still be testimony to the constantly dynamic and temporal qualities of landscape.

Since, the park had to have a wetlands system designed within it, the idea was to make this natural system as visible as possible. The water thus follows a successional flow pattern filling each pond once the previous one is to full to finally then exit the park back into the stormwater drains. Within the design, there are many moments and instances where the user is made to come face to face with the temporal and seasonal quality of the park – some of the paths that would be used during the dry season, get inundated during storm events, in drier seasons one can walk at the base of some of the ponds, an entry to the park is made seasonal etc. The planting strategy and phasing of the park is designed to enhance these moments and effects, employing mainly native California species. The driving force is to make the user experience time and season by the simple experience of an everyday public park, while managing to have a blend of recreational, ecological and cultural values.