Chicago, USA

McKinley Park

The McKinley Park Community Play Garden is an engaging and innovative nature play garden located adjacent to the McKinley Park Library, southwest of downtown Chicago.
Photo: site design group, ltd.

The project was initiated by the community and overseen by NeighborSpace, a nonprofit land trust organization that saw potential in an underutilized green space that was previously a neighborhood arboretum that had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect. By maintaining the existing mature trees and natural topography on the site, creative play elements were incorporated into the landscape in an effort to encourage interaction, play, and exploration with nature. Nature-based play features were accented with reclaimed and repurposed materials acquired by the community.

The McKinley Park Community Play Garden has become a valued community resource for the surrounding area, a community with limited access to nature and open space. The success of the garden may be attributed in large part to the tremendous efforts by the client and community in envisioning, realizing, and now maintaining the space for all.

SDG Headshots 2016
Ernest Wong
Landscape Architect
Partner: Site Design Group, Ltd
“Building community with limited resources requires a willingness to experiment and think outside of the box. Defining the identity and spirit of communities changes over time. Whereas art and design can plan the vision, the execution requires the participation of its citizens. Pride and ownership equal care and happiness.”
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