The Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in Los Angeles has already won six awards for its sustainable design. Now it’s moving onto its Phase 1B, becoming the first off-leash dog park in South L.A.

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An aerial view of the park has a large lake with walking trails surrounding it

The Magic Johnson Park was winner of the following awards in 2021:

  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC-CA): Honor Award
  • American Society of Civil Engineers — Los Angeles (ASCE): Sustainable Engineering Project of the Year
  • American Society of Landscape Architects — Southern California Chapter: Quality of Life Award of Excellence, Honor Award for Parks and Recreation
  • Los Angeles Business Council (LABC): Architectural Award for Civic
  • Southern California Development Forum (SCDF): Honor Award in the Civic category
  • United States Green Building Council — Los Angeles (USGBC-LA): Water, Equity and Environmental Justice, and Project of the Year  

Related: LA’s Magic Johnson Park now features a stormwater recycling system

A long building with palm tress that are planted in front of it

“The continuing efforts of the renovation at Magic Johnson Park further transforms this park for the community, allowing for greater access to nature and advancing sustainability efforts as a model for urban parks,” said Wendy Chan, MIG Senior Landscape Architect. “We hope the opening of Phase 1B brings more of the community out to enjoy its new amenities, especially during a time when access to the outdoors is as important as ever.”

A long wooden bridge that overlooks a stream

Now, the new park is being called the gold standard in sustainable park design. It offers a hub for the community and demonstrates how urban environments can be models of water conservation. The park surrounds a lake that has viewing stations with educational signs about wildlife, as well as a playground area, walking trails and many green planted spaces.

A playground that is covered by yellow triangle overhangs

This next phase of the park will include: .75 miles of walking trails, an off-leash dog park, California native habitat gardens, a natural outdoor amphitheater, a .25-mile fitness loop with exercise equipment and even a community lawn.

A walking path that looks into the lake with a child looking through a telescope

Furthermore, the park diverts and captures stormwater runoff from the community’s 375-acre watershed. It is part of the overall Compton Creek Watershed. The stormwater is treated through natural bio-filtration via mitigated wetlands surrounding one of the park’s two lakes.

Additionally, the treated water is stored in both lakes and reused for park irrigation. This park was designed to create a model for other parks to integrate water sustainability design while educating the public about water conservation.


Images via AHBE | MIG