Keep Little Rock in partnership with Studio Main and the City of Little Rock offered a presentation, site visit and inspection of the eastern terminus area of Capitol Avenue and I-30 for all the competition applicants and interested parties to solicit proposals for a creative and dynamic gateway into the city.
Envision Little Rock was part of the 100 year celebration of the John Nolan’s Plan for a Park System for Little Rock in 1903. The Nolan plan proposed a park system that would wrap around the city and include park space along the Fouche and Rock Creeks and the Arkansas River as well as tree lined boulevards stretching through the city connecting other parks in the city fabric.
John Nolan was a city planner and landscape architect out of Cambridge, Massachusets. He was influenced in part by the “Garden City Movement”, a 19th Century method of urban planning, but is known mostly for taking the philosophies and teachings of his professor, Frederick Law Olmsted (co-designer of New York’s Central Park), and developing a new school of thought called “New Urbanism.”
Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by “greenbelts”, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture. The elements of New Urbanism included walkable neighborhoods, housing options from apartments to single-family homes integrating socio-economic levels, placement of civic building in public places, homes with large front porches and garages served in the back with alley ways.
One part of John Nolan’s plan for a park system in Little Rock called for Capitol Avenue to be a tree lined street with the Capitol Building at the west end and some other important landmark or monument at the east end.
The Envision Little Rock presentation in 2013 was given at the Little Rock Information Center (Curran Hall) followed by a question and answer tour to the designated site area for the Gateway design. On the tour were representatives of the Hanger Hill Neighborhood Association.
Many thanks to Jordan Thomas of Studio Main, Melinda Glasgow of the City of Little Rock, and Bob Callans, former chair of Keep Little Rock Beautiful.