Hance Park

Honor Award - Analysis & Planning
!melk + Weddle Gilmore + Floor Associates
The initiative to reinvigorate Hance Park emerged from the Hance Park Conservancy, an organization of neighboring stakeholders, cultural institutions, businesses and concerned citizens; its mission statement: “activate and unite the community by promoting the creative use of public space and a vibrant arts and cultural experience.” The existing Hance Park (32.5 acres, downtown Phoenix) dates from the early 90s, for the most part constructed over ‘the last mile’ of I-10. The original design was never fully realized because of funding short-falls. It is poorly realized, under-maintained, poorly used, and inappropriately programmed. Moreover, the park is not on par with Phoenix’s rapid city-core development. Over a period of 8 Months the Master Plan Team organized a 3 tiered analysis and planning process, encompassing a deep analysis and investigation that revealed undiscovered history, examined connectivity and circulation patterns, and studied adjacent economic development potential. The Master Plan is built around the following values: economic growth, sustainability, programming, and identity. In order to establish a “uniquely Phoenix” park, the team suggests that a future design should reference the context of “The Valley of the Sun” by deriving inspiration from local geographic and geologic features. Limited water and harsh sun are important considerations and the team studied how wind and sun works within the native landscapes. The Master Plan suggests a design vocabulary that evolves as one journeys through the park, to create spaces that are both exciting and memorable. “Landforms” such as abstracted buttes and canyons can create distinct spatial and programmatic moments, and establish shady cool areas. Native and adapted plant species provide microclimate, frame corridors, produce fragrance, and offer educational experiences to the splendors of the local flora and fauna. Finally, solar energy and net-zero water usage are established goals for the upcoming park design.

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