Merit Award Winner

Project Name:  Columbia Playfield Renovation
Location:  Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Design Team:  SmithGroup, Zimmerman Architectural Studios, New Eden Landscape Architecture & Harwood Engineering Consultants

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), for the first time in over 50 years, has begun the process of completely transforming the first of their 52 stand-alone urban playgrounds located throughout the City. The initial projects include Columbia Playfield and two others, based on an MPS study of the entire system – which includes over 50 playfield properties. Columbia and the two others were selected first because they could make the greatest impact in their neighborhoods of high socioeconomic needs.  Columbia Playfield is located in a low-income, crime saturated urban environment, and the renovations are the first major investments to this site since the 1950s when it was largely paved with asphalt. This renovation represents a significant transformational opportunity to enhance the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood.

The overall goal of this project was to create a dynamic multi-functional and inter-generational destination that encourages pride within the community and gives families a place to gather, learn, and recreate. Within the larger context, this renovation addresses issues of social equity, public health, and community vibrancy for the City of Milwaukee.

The design for Columbia Playfield replaces several acres of asphalt with a neighborhood amenity that provides opportunities for play, public gathering and MPS summer programming while providing a greener, shadier and more inviting destination that welcomes all members of the community.