LaFayette Square in Oakland, California

I don’t know Walter Hood, but have attended a few of his lectures and if I could create a professional trajectory similar to his, I would be pretty psyched. Well skilled in the realm of design, at times he also assumes the role of social advocate, environmental advocate, fundraiser, and professor. And, he seems like a damn cool dude to boot.

Probably best known for his work at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, or his books Urban Diaries and Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations, my favorite project of his is LaFayette Square in Oakland, California. The project was hugely controversial; many people wanted to see small this parcel developed, in a way, to get rid of the transient population who perhaps had stayed too long. Hood worked with the community, city officials, homeless, and various funding sources to create and implement a design that would embrace those who need a place to crash, yet didn’t look like one big king-sized bed in the middle of Oakland. As with most design, the devil is in the details. Outfitted with water, showers, bathrooms and electrical plugs, the park infrastructure makes life a little easier for those who don’t have direct access to such luxuries. Well skilled at creating cool landscapes, Hood also programmed in some Depression-Era elements such as tables with chessboards and horseshoe pits, and believe it or not, comfortable park benches!

all images from Hood Design