Cal Anderson Park: Black Lives Memorial Garden

City of Seattle
Black Star Farmers
Project Type
Graphic Design, Workshop

Black Star Farmers sought out Designing in Color’s services to envision a new, community-centered version of Seattle historic Cal Anderson Park. Unimpressed by the city council’s concept for the site, Henderson sought DCo’s vision of community-centered, narrative-driven, experiential, and non-Eurocentric design.

The DCo team approached this through a number of Guiding Principles: Narrative-Based Strategies, Awareness of Generational Site Histories, Limiting Historical Revisionism, Knowledge Sharing, and Pursuing Non-Defensible Space. Our designs sought to mute Imperialism, and proliferate an Afrofuturist lexicon. We wanted visitors to circulate, interact, and empathize. We viewed spaces for growing food as the majority and the focus of the programmed spaces, with the boundary separating circulation and growing being frequently blurred. In the community organizing process we wanted to embrace the unhoused, creating non-defensible spaces that do not deter vulnerable populations from public space, conveying powerful Afrofuturist graphics and icons, reflecting on the history of the neighborhood, and embracing the inclusive future we strive for.

Cal Anderson Revisioning brings together the University of Washington’s Environmental departments, local indigenous tribe voices, the Capital district coalition, local park supports, the Gay community, and a local trusted community activist urban farmer.

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