As Spain gradually emerges from recession, the many municipal projects that have been put on hold during the country’s economic crisis are now champing at the bit to get underway once again. One such project is the city of Valencia’s ambitious plans for a new central park, El Parque Central de Valencia. Designed by Gustafson Porter in collaboration with the Borgos Pieper, the park will transform 60 hectares of former rail yards into a lush urban green space.

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The park scheme was designed by Gustafson Porter in collaboration with the Borgos Pieper architecture studio. Unanimously selected by a local jury, the Central Park design calls for a complete transformation of over 60 hectares of former railway yards in the middle of the city. The old railway lines, which will be buried in order to make way for the city’s new enhanced local railway network located underground, would be covered by a new 23 hectare park, resulting in a major urban revitalization for the area.

The urban design scheme is meant to be two-fold: connecting the neighborhoods that were previously separated by the unsightlyrailway lines and providing one of most elaborate railway hubs locally and nationally. Eleven heritage buildings currently located on the property are set to be refurbished into cultural, educational and service venues. Three phases of the Central Park Plan are already in progress, but the tunnel portion of the project, which is almost 10 kilometers long, is currently on hold.

On a recent trip to the Spanish coastal city, well-known landscape architect and cofounder of Gustafson Porter, Kathryn Gustafson, encouraged the city to press on with the new park, despite the economic hurdles that accompany the extensive project. The 2.8 million-square-foot landscape architectural project is budgeted for approximately 78 million euros.

According to Borgos Pieper, Gustafson’s comments “reflect the project team’s interest in adapting the scheme ‘to society’s challenges’ and helping with Valencia’s desire to modify the project’s execution and budget as needed.”

Via Borgos Pieper and Gustafson Porter