Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Urban Arboriculture Charrette


Tags: arboriculture, architecture, basketball, boundary, charrette, community, compact, court, design, grid, grow, landscape, lots, management, neighborhood, parks, patterns, Philadelphia, planting, play, production, PSU, recreation, stormwater, street, student, studio, trees, urban, water

A small-scale urban forestry project from Pennsylvania State University.

Urban Arboriculture is a project by Austin Aronsson and Dylan Salmons, graduate students in Pennsylvania State University's undergraduate landscape architecture program. Aronsson and Salmons participated in The Urban Arboretum, a studio inspired by Matthew Langan's proposal for the Urban Voids competition. The Spring 2010 studio was taught by Tim Baird with assistance from Langan, a graduate of the program. This project was the result of a charrette-a short-term design challenge-early in the semester.

The final design is a small park consisting of two basketball hardtops on a small, multi-lot site in Philadelphia. The fringes and interstitial spaces of the park are used for small-scale tree production with rotating harvest and planting schedules. The park is built on an oddly-shaped corner lot, but Aronsson and Salmons made the most of its narrow width by placing tall, screening trees and irrigation canals along its periphery. The proposal offers detailed diagrams of recycled aluminum benches, planting pockets for street trees, and bioretention cells that capture rainwater and stormwater runoff. Ultimately, the park offers a safe recreation area with ample connections to street life, combined with a community enterprise in urban arboriculture.


Urban Arboretum: From Vacancy to Hybrid Landscape. Landscape Architecture 414. The Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture, Spring 2010.

The Designers