The Railyard Park and Plaza—2014 Urban Open Space Finalist
April 30, 2014
About The Railyard Park and Plaza
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Owner: City of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Designer: Ken Smith, ASLA, Landscape Architect, Frederic Schwartz, FAIA, Architect Mary Miss, Artist
Size: 13 acres
Railyard Park + Plaza is the culmination of two decades of community activism that enabled citizens to retain control over the largest downtown development to conserve the open space in perpetuity as a community asset emphasizing local cultures, businesses and artists.
Built in 1880, the original railyard was a key component of Santa Fe’s identity. The project reclaimed an important cultural area of the city that had fallen into decline, and restored it to provide free activities open to the community that offer social viability, healthful activity, and vibrant artistic elements. The city of Santa Fe, with the help of the Trust for Public Land, purchased the land, and undertook a long public process of planning, design and implementation.
The Railyard Park + Plaza includes a 13-acre conservation easement and provides a variety of distinctive areas for passive, active and educational use. The public promenade, art galleries, museums, a farmer’s market, brewery, restaurants, retail shops, office space and the commuter rail station create a thriving mixed-use space that contributes to the local economy. The park includes a reflective circular ramada; walkways aligned with former rail tracks; biking and health trails, children’s playground; picnic areas; a performance green; orchards; community and teaching gardens; and representations of traditional New Mexico irrigation features.