Thursday, February 9, 2006

Orange County Gets Greener

The wheels are in motion to make Orange County home to one of the country's largest public parks. That's right, Orange County. The El Toro Marine Base in South OC, which closed in 1999 and was initially poised to become an international airport, will be transformed over the next decade into the 1,347 acre "Orange County Great Park." Ken Smith, the landscape architect from New York who designed the new rooftop at the MoMA, among other things, was selected last month to be the park's master designer.
Smith’s design, which was a public favorite in the OCGP Corporation’s online poll, incorporates several grand features into the Master Plan for the Orange County Great Park. These include a canyon joining the Agua Chinon with a lake and an amphitheatre that faces east across this lake. The design also retains the old runway with fighter planes stationed along its entire length as a linear monument to the military history.
From the Conservancy's website. To see the various designers' presentations, click here.

Despite the fact that it is home to thriving Mexican, Vietnamese and Korean communities, OC is known as a conservative bastion, full of rich, white people and their beachfront McMansions. In recent years, large businesses have put roots in South OC (i.e., Irvine and Costa Mesa) and there are huge numbers of people commuting to South OC that used to commute to LA. OC is sometimes called "post suburbia" because it lacks a traditional urban center, yet has the consumer, employment and entertainment options usually associated with major cities. The Great Park will make OC more interesting and difficult to categorize. We'll see how it goes.

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