Hunters Point – Candlestick Point

Project: Hunters Point / Candlestick Point
“Ecological equity and the last great expansion of San Francisco”
Location: San Francisco, CA
Firm: Bionic
Year: 2009
Firm website:

Project Description: The City of San Francisco and a developer have proposed a 700-acre development for Candlestick Point / Hunters Point Shipyard at the southwest edge of San Francisco. It will be the last large expansion of the city. The proposal includes commercial, retail, and residential space for 20,000 people, and a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers. In response to the plan, a coalition of environmental organizations commissioned Bionic to create an urban design alternative that better address the needs of the existing community, including environmental health, economic development, and the creation of open space and its ecology. Through a community design process and analysis of the issues on a city-wide scale, the project documented an actual and perceived exclusion from the large landscapes and open spaces that the rest of the city residents benefit from.

By leveraging existing ecological assets and projecting a reconfiguration of property lines, the alternative planning approach calls for an urban design that is fundamentally different from the City/developer proposal. It proposes flora/fauna/pedestrian connections to open spaces outside the project boundary, and the re-connection of existing patches of habitat. The resulting composition of large-scale spaces provides an alternative that creates more development areas, continuous habitat corridors and large open spaces, and connects existing neighborhoods to the water.

The open space becomes one continuous park representing the six ecological communities of San Francisco. The habitat corridors expand the potential for existing species to flourish while additional habitat is created to reintroduce native species. Anticipating the future importance of water infrastructure for the immediate area and the City, the approach defines areas for water resources. The open space is capable of hosting water storage, wastewater treatment, and large-scale storm water treatment as infrastructural elements. On-site water resources will mandate the integration of building systems with the open space infrastructure. A sub area of the plan proposes to add several city blocks to the project area for the daylighting and restoration of Yosemite Creek. The addition would connect the waterfront to Third Street, the main commercial and transit corridor for the Bayview neighborhood. Once the stream is daylighted, it presents ample opportunity for a variety of open space uses, such as stormwater treatment, urban agriculture, and active and passive recreation. Most importantly, it provides a connection from the existing community to new parks, open spaces, and the Bay.

Project Team Members:
Marcel Wilson-Principal, Kelly Schoonmaker- Associate
Client: Saul Bloom – Arc Ecology]
Sierra Club
Urban Strategies Council


Project: Streamlines
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Firm: Stoss Landscape Urbanism
Year: 2011
Firm website:

Project Description: The project re-imagines 5.5 miles of Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis, from the cultural riverfront in downtown north to the city limit. Stoss’s proposal is titled Streamlines; it’s about sheer, unfiltered experiences of direct contact with the river and river life, in many ways and at multiple moments. And it’s about weaving these experiences back into the everyday city.

Streamlines is also a project about working ecologies, ecological systems and dynamics put to work to clean, to re-constitute this working riverfront, and to guide a longer-term transformation of the city fabric. But it is not about a single green line along the river. Rather, this project is about multiple threads, multiple strands; it evokes the stories and lives of the people who live, work, and play by the river’s edge and have done so for centuries. It builds from the rich histories and evolving identities of the Mississippi River, the ecological, economic, social lifeblood of the city, and of the continent. And it puts in place a series of working and operational landscapes, green infrastructures, and landscape-based urban fabrics that will guide this transformation for the next generation of city-dwellers, just as the Grand Rounds did for 20th-century Minneapolis.

Project Team Members:
Designer: Stoss Landscape Urbanism. Chris Reed, principal, lead designer
Scott Bishop, project manager
Meg Studer, project designer
Design Team: Jill Allen, Thomas Clark, Jill Desimini, Sandrina Dumitrascu, Alexandra Gauzza,
Marguerite Graham, Taekyung Kim, Stephanie Morrison
Collaborators: Michael Maltzan Architecture (architecture + infrastructure)
Utile, Inc. (urban design)
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Antimodular Inc. (interactive public art)
Close Landscape Architecture + (associate landscape + planning)
Applied Ecological Services (ecology + natural resources)
Buro Happold (sustainability + infrastructure)
Hr & A Advisors, Inc. (economic development)
Plandform Ltd (ecology + environmental planning)
Project Projects (identity + environmental graphics)
Moffat Nichol (waterfront + hydraulic engineering)
Nelson\Nygaard (transportation planning)
Davis Langdon (cost estimation)
Pine & Swallow (soil science)
Jim Tittle, Nice Pictures (videography)
Eric Silva (audio)

Find out more:
Stoss – Complete Streamlines Submission on the Minneapolis Competition Website
Stoss – Director’s Cut – Streamlines Video

Image credits: Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Pacific Commons

Project: Pacific Commons
Location: Fremont, CA
Firm: CMG Landscape Architecture
Year: 2009
Firm website:

Project Description:  CMG lead the design and regulatory approval process for this 16 acre regional stormwater treatment wetland and trail system. The wetland treats stormwater from a highly developed 514 acre watershed. Detailed hydrologic modeling indicates that the system will treat an average of 88% of annual runoff. The design of the wetland system is emblematic of CMG’s unique approach to complex system based landscapes which combine infrastructure with ecological and water quality functions. Habitat creation, hydraulic requirements, water quality parameters, public access, and maintenance considerations are all integrated within an artfully composed environment predicated on ecological parameters. A variety of wetland plant associations are combined in a sculpted mosaic that will emerge and evolve over time based on seasonal water depths and flows. The project completes a mile long section of the regional Bay Trail system and includes a pedestrian loop and a series of overlook picnic areas.

Project Team Members: Chris Guillard, John Bela

[Dis]assemble Detroit

Project: [Dis]assemble Detroit
Location: Detroit, MI
Designers: Alamira Noor, Bani Hashim
Year: 2011
Program: Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Faculty Advisors: Toni Griffin, Andrea Hansen

Project description: It goes without saying that unprecedented levels of vacancy have taken a social and economic toll on Detroit. However, the proliferation of unmaintained vacant lots also has potentially transformative repercussions in the form of emergent landscapes that can be collectively harnessed into a new open space system to improve Detroit’s ecological performance and its communities.But first, a change in perception and ideals is required. We must let go of what we know as Detroit, unthink it, interrupt it, and reexamine the pieces to build a better, healthier city. [Dis]assemble Detroit examines Detroit’s ecological health and suggests a series of interventions aimed at improving it. These interventions are tied together by the theme of disassembly: symbolically, through efforts to change the perception of traditional urbanism, but also procedurally, through the identification of sites and intervention typologies as the outcome of a metaphorical “puzzle game” of city. In Detroit today, parcels are scattered into tiny, unusable pieces. In order to operate systemically and connect individual parcels into an ecological network, parcels must be filtered for their potential. The puzzle game sets the tone for reshaping the city by re-sorting vacant parcels independently of their location so they can be evaluated by metrics of parcel size, shape, land use or vacancy.

[Dis]assemble Detroit’s methodology classifies vacant land based on its general characteristics, geographical condition, and the severity of its situation. Based on the resultant classification, the land is assigned one or more of four functions: 1) stormwater mitigation, 2) soil remediation, 3) recreation, or 4) urban development. These functions are implemented across two geographies. The first geography is a series of new performative green bands across Detroit that aid in stormwater mitigation and soil remediation. The second geography consists of three consolidated development areas that are centered around existing healthy cores, where vacant parcels are incentivized for investment.