Andy’s Unity Park
Santa Rosa, CA
Lead Landscape Architects: Steve Rasmussen Cancian and Douglas Nelson
Client: Sonoma County Regional Parks
Thirteen year old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy on an empty lot in an underserved community with no schools, parks, or community facilities. The community's response was outrage, protest and conflict. Neighbors were pitted against each other. The community was pitted against their local government and law enforcement. While the District Attorney fought lawsuits and the Supervisors considered reforms, the Parks Department asked a team of landscape architects to step into the fray and plan a park on the site of Andy's killing. An innovative community planning process was created to provide a safe space in which the community could work through its grief, anger and disagreement. This collaborative process gave birth to a unique cross-cultural design that combines a "park" and a "parque" and nurtured new cross-cultural friendships, mutual respect and understanding. Together, the design and these relationships have made Andy's Unity Park live up to its name and truly become the place where the entire neighborhood comes together.