Engaging with community members is crucial in creating landscape designs. Through design charrettes, community meetings, and other forms of public engagement, landscape designers can learn more about what community members value.

One proposed design that has received both positive and negative feedback is the New Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco. The existing plaza was designed in the 1970s and was not originally intended to represent an influential person. Several years after the assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay U.S. official and an influential civil rights movement leader, the plaza was named in honor of Milk.

Today, the space is not adequate for community gatherings and is not viewed as a place that captures Harvey Milk’s spirit.

In February 2021, the Bay Area LARC researched the proposed design for the Harvey Milk Plaza. This proposed design strived to create an inclusive community space that represented Harvey Milk. The design integrated more gathering spaces, symbolic planting, a new elevator, and an exhibition space where people could be inspired by Harvey’s message of Hope. However, community members and groups, including the GLBT Historical Society, expressed concerns about this new project, such as obstruction of other historic features and unnecessary demolition.

The design for the Harvey Milk Plaza has been updated since the Bay Area LARC initially researched the site to reflect feedback from community members. To learn more about this proposed project, visit https://www.harveymilkplaza.org/.

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