Guadalajara Metropolitan Park

Public Space and  Sports Complexes
In 2011, the Guadalajara metropolitan area was set to host the Pan American Games. This entailed the construction of multiple sports venues and the improvement of various public spaces. The Guadalajara Metropolitan Park, located in the eastern part of the Municipality of Zapopan, was chosen to host one of the sports complexes (swimming pools and tennis), and this process aimed to enhance its 124 hectares of natural land and existing facilities, and to integrate the Pan American facilities for public use in the park in the future.
Water Efficiency


Master Plan
Urban Design
Landscape Architecure

Size: 124 hectares
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
Year: 2011
To achieve this goal, the Government of Jalisco, the park management, and the NGO Guadalajara 2020 decided to implement an innovative process that would revolutionize the way public parks are designed in Mexico.

The first part, called "PLACEMAKING," involved communication, socialization, and citizen participation to generate a program of uses and recommendations based on users' opinions and preferences and on-site observations.

The two-month study produced a recommendation book of over 100 pages, led by Guillermo Peñalosa (former director of open space planning in Colombia, and director of 8-80 cities) and his team

The second part consisted of a national invitation-only competition among the best firms with experience in designing similar public spaces.

The creative activity was regulated by the results of the Placemaking document and had to take into account the history of transformations and elements of the park's past that shape its current reality.

Based on the area's natural systems, the general organizing idea of the park consists of a skeleton or green fabric of linear forests (green avenues) that extend from the existing tree lines on the site, which are reinforced and extended (north-south) to unify it and establish connections with its immediate and distant urban surroundings.

This green skeleton, which integrates trees and pedestrian paths with the movement of natural species, is an integrative and flexible scheme capable of hosting, integrating, and giving coherence to a changing diversity of uses, users, and environments in their forms of recreation today and in the future. 

This "green skeleton" concentrates socialization and community around a colorful heart of activity surrounding the lake.

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A Dynamic and Ever-changing Scheme
The proposed scheme (green fabric) is a living and constantly changing scheme. It changes with the hours of the day (light intensity and the shadows cast by the trees over the space), with the seasons (rainy-dry, winter-summer, flowering and tree sprouting times, planting or harvest seasons, etc.), with planned natural succession processes (growth of vegetation and trees, new trees replacing old ones, etc.), and with the types of recreation practiced by today's users and future generations.

Linear forests. These are the main north-south connectors; they offer routes, picnic areas, and benches in the shade of trees, with long views and play areas in their open counterparts. It is an alternating play of light and shadow, of protection and exposure.

Reserve and urban agriculture area. Zone for the concentration, retention, and capture of rainwater runoff. It is crossed from east to west by walkways and aqueducts following the existing tree lines. They can host arboretums and outdoor native botanical gardens. Agave and native cultivation areas. Courses in arboriculture, bird watching, walks, rest.

Environmental education area and live butterfly garden. Education, tours, observation, courses, conferences, and practical workshops.

Reforestation and native forest. Walk, courses, outdoor classrooms: yoga, tai-chi, etc.

Linear Forests and Urban Agriculture Zones
It aims to be a sustainable and educational scheme: use of native plants, renewable energy, and resources in an explicit and visible way for everyone; it exhibits or brings to light natural processes (runoffs, flood zones, aqueducts, recharge zones, presence of birds, islands, planting, harvesting, and reproduction processes, relationships with the distant context, etc.) for the appreciation, information, and learning of its visitors in an interesting and attractive way.

Northern sports park. Local and state sports competitions. Classes, training.

Spring plaza. Existing northern access, complemented by interactive-educational children's play areas, children's open-air theater, storytelling.
Environmental Learning and Reforestation
To be truly sustainable, a landscape must contemplate strategies or actions that encompass and integrate the four aspects: community/socialization, environment, economy, and art. Some strategies present in the park are:

a. Community/socialization: The park features 10 zones that differ by the type and intensity of social or recreational activities conducted there. These activities and forms of space appropriation are flexible to future changes according to users' requirements. The most active recreation areas - of an "urban" character or city-related - are grouped in the north, while passive recreation areas and those in closer contact with nature are in the south.
Linear access plaza. 

This constitutes the social heart of the park. The linear or arts plaza welcomes visitors with the aqueduct fountain. It hosts information modules, exhibitions, performances, and product markets. Shaded by trees and equipped with benches for resting and observing. It intersects in its central part with the ring of the jacaranda walkway that frames and contains the central lake park.

Lake Park: This is the large multi-use green area where mass events such as concerts, open-air cinema, kite and dog competitions, sunbathing, etc., take place. The circular walkway, shaded by jacarandas, offers a space to rest and observe everything happening inside; it is the great connector of different zones, structures, and circulation systems accessible directly from this ring. This zone includes an iconic-sculptural element that can become the symbol of the park, the 360º Metropolitan Viewpoint, offering views and information about the entire metropolitan and natural area surrounding the park, allowing the user to appreciate from above the natural systems and urban connections of which the park is a part in the city.

Related Projects


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