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Marcus Garvey Park, Hartford, Conn.
By Michael Miyamoto, LASN


TO Design Landscape Architects, LLC, of New Britain, Conn., designed the landscape for a park built in Hartford, Conn., in 2016 to honor Marcus Mosiah Garvey, an influential political leader. The design was done on a pro bono basis. The site has a pathway built of permeable pavers, ornamental metal benches and a plaque to honor Garvey. A half-moon shaped stone signage wall proclaims the site as "Marcus Garvey Place." The back of the wall doubles as seating. An important element of the design included preservation of two mature oak trees.

Marcus Garvey Park in Hartford, Conn., is named after Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940), a political leader, journalist, publisher and entrepreneur who rose to prominence as a proponent of the Pan Africanism movement. "Throughout his life he worked to strengthen the bonds between all people of African descent," said W. Phillips Barlow, PLA, AICP and principal of TO Design Landscape Architects, LLC, of New Britain, Conn.

New York City has a 21-acre park in Harlem, as well as a street and public library, named for Garvey.


While Garvey never lived in Hartford, his son, Dr. Julius Garvey, resides there to this day. It was the younger Garvey, among others, who pushed for a park to honor his father. Dr. Garvey was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony in 2016. In 2015, Barlow was asked if he would consider designing a park in Hartford on a pro bono basis. "As we have our roots in the city and have a 30-year relationship (with Hartford), we were honored to do so," Barlow said.

Since the city was in a budget crisis, the final design was simple and easy to maintain. The site was a forlorn pocket of weeds before the project was undertaken.

"The park was designed not only to honor Garvey, but is a visual relief in the dense urban setting," Barlow said.

As seen in LASN magazine, Stewardship, April 2017 .

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June 21, 2018, 5:14 am PDT

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Last Updated 06-21-18
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