Setting an Ambitious Agenda in San Antonio


Setting an Ambitious Agenda in San Antonio

Setting an Ambitious Agenda in San Antonio
Mar 13, 2017

It was billed as a conference, but one speaker said it was more like an “intervention;” Leading with Landscape III: Renewing San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park drew more than 400 attendees to The Stable at Pearl for a provocative, engaging and informative daylong examination the city’s historically significant 343-acre park, which is also the water source for the city’s world famous collection of missions.

San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor, her chief of policy, Leilah Powell, and other municipal officials joined nationally prominent landscape architects including Gina Ford (Sasaki), Mia Lehrer (Mia Lehrer + Associates), Chris Reed (Stoss), Douglas Reed (Reed Hilderbrand), Christine Ten Eyck (Ten Eyck Landscape Architects), and others in charting options for the park’s future.  The morning was dedicated to examining successful planning and design initiatives in San Antonio, while the afternoon was spent looking at projects in other cities that the Brackenridge Park’s stewards could learn from.  Speaker abstracts provide an outline of the day’s proceedings and videotape of the entire conference will soon be posted on TCLF’s YouTube page.

Media partner The Rivard Report provided extensive coverage leading up to and after the event with articles such as "Could Brackenridge Park Become a National Heritage Area?" and "Brackenridge Park’s ‘Intervention’ Brings Hundreds of Minds to the Table."  The San Antonio Express-News in an editorial titled “Brackenridge dialogue needed,” cited the “importance of community participation.”   In fact, more than half the attendees were residents of the city, and judging by the comment registered on The Rivard Report’s website by one attendee, the conference succeeded in providing transparency and an understanding of landscape architecture’s role in the park’s future:


In setting the stage for the event, TCLF’s Charles Birnbaum highlighted the park’s unique history, one that dates back more than 11,000 years.  He noted that the reason Brackenridge Park is not well known is because a famous practitioner like an Olmsted didn’t design it.  Nevertheless, he concluded his comments by saying the park is so important that it could be part of a National Heritage Area, which would be a first for the State of Texas.  As the city gets set to mark its tricentennial in 2018, Brackenridge Park is emerging as one of the nation’s most significant municipal parks.

The summit is co-sponsored and co-produced by TCLF and Brackenridge Park Conservancy with generous support from presenting sponsors, Pearl, The John and Florence Newman Foundation, and the City of San Antonio - Parks and Recreation Department, media partner, The Rivard Report, Preservation and a consortium of other sponsors.

Leading with Landscape III: Renewing San Antonio's Brackenridge Park conference slide