Reinventing Rocky Point

Reinventing Rocky Point

New Landscape Architecture graduates Michelle Jordan MLA 14, Andrew Jacobs MLA 14 and Spike Meatyard MLA 14 presented a series of case studies on urban and coastal park design at Providence’s Save the Bay headquarters in early June. Their goal was to provide state and city planners, members of the Rocky Point Foundation and other stakeholders with ideas for developing a sustainable, multi-use recreational facility at Rhode Island’s renowned but long defunct Rocky Point Amusement Park – part of 120 acres of recently acquired waterfront property overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Governor Lincoln Chafee and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian attended the presentation and agreed that this publicly owned land provides unprecedented recreational and educational opportunities for Rhode Island residents. Landscape Architecture Department Head Scheri Fultineer helped organize the event as part of a series of spring lectures on waterfront park design. She invited notable landscape architect Elizabeth Mossop of Spackman Mossop and Michaels – a firm currently revitalizing public parks in post-Katrina New Orleans – to lead the proceedings along with Rocky Point Foundation Founder George Shuster.

The group discussed such key issues as the importance of maintaining wetlands to filter coastal waters, considering climate change and rising sea levels in park design, remediating polluted topography and balancing local experience with international expertise. They also reviewed strategies used at other parks to dedicate a percentage of acreage to commercial activities that generate funds for maintenance and development.

“Rhode Island is an incredible laboratory for RISD Landscape Architecture students,” says Fultineer. “In our spring Ecological Planning and Design course, we took a first look at the possibilities for Rocky Point, and we’re planning a fall studio that will go deeper and possibly generate some planning proposals.”

Department of Environmental Management director Janet Coit and Mayor Avedisian both embrace RISD’s involvement in the project. “Having the creative minds of RISD students envisioning possible uses for Rocky Point is very exciting,” says the mayor.

–Simone Solondz

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