big win for levy park

Upper Kirby park blossoms to global prominence with prestigious award

Upper Kirby park blossoms to global prominence with prestigious award

Levy Park Houston oak tree park child
Levy Park is one of only two parks in the world to receive the recent honor.  Photo by Midway Companies

A once cozy, little-known refuge in the Upper Kirby corridor has now bloomed to international recognition, thanks to a high-profile award.

Levy Park has been selected as one of the winners of this year’s prestigious Urban Land Institute (ULI) Urban Open Space Award. The coveted award recognizes outstanding examples of successful large-scale and small-scale public spaces that have socially enriched and revitalized the economy of their surrounding communities, according to a statement. 

The revitalized, six-acre Upper Kirby gem was recently named a winner at the 2018 ULI Fall Meeting in Boston. The only other park in the world to receive the Urban Space Award is Madrid Río Park in Madrid, Spain. The winners were selected from a collection of entries representing urban areas from across the globe.

“The jury found Levy Park to be a dynamic public-private partnership that was unique in how it was structured,” says ULI Ttrustee and jury chairman Stuart I. Ackerberg. The park is architecturally very strong and executed extremely well, and it provides appealing programming and amenities that benefit the entire Houston community.”

While landscape architecture and urban design were factors in the judging process, the jury selected finalists based on a broader set of criteria, including overall project performance and how each impacted or revived their surrounding areas, according to the release. Levy Park’s redesign was led by OJB Landscape Architecture.

Once home to an average of 50 visitors a week, Levy Park has evolved into a popular Inner Loop destination that welcomes an estimated 7,000 weekly visitors who pack its dog park, community events, farmers market, and public gardens. The center has become a favorite for families who flock to the children’s park, which offers interactive sculptures, fountains, and a 150-foot-long tree house nestled among massive live oaks.

The park has been lauded for fostering a sense of community through performances, workshops, movie nights, and exercise programs. Praise also flows for its gardens, which harness harvest and reuse stormwater.