In 1913, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. created “Proposed Improvements for Newport” which shaped how Newport has developed and resulted in many of the city’s beloved green and blue spaces. Much has changed since then, with topics of flood resilience and sea-level rise, equity and connectivity now in the foreground for the city. Amid this new context, in 2016 the Newport Open Space Partnership embarked on the first citywide open space study since Olmsted’s time, a comprehensive open space planning process that creates a fresh vision for the long-term sustainability and stewardship of the parks, public open spaces, and trees in Newport. Brie Hensold served as lead planner and project manager while at Sasaki.
Planning for Newport’s diverse open spaces must consider issues of historic preservation, community needs (social, recreational and other), economic development, wildlife habitat and ever‐changing environmental conditions, including sea level rise. The plan identified that many neighborhoods today do not have equitable access to open space, recreational opportunities and trees. Other historic and beloved elements, such as the Harbor Walk and Ocean Drive, are in need of repair and re-visioning and coastal parks have needs for healthier ecological connections and flood resilient design. Based on an inclusive process with deep community engagement, the plan seeks to both reinvest in historic open spaces and ensure a more equitable distribution of open space amenities across the city for the future.Project Images