Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department

Art History

Reader 1

Paul Faulstich

Reader 2

Bruce Coats

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Allison Rigby


People who live in cities are far more likely to suffer the physical and psychological effects of urban environments--high noise levels, automobile emissions, toxic industrial waste, crowded living conditions, and a general scarcity of open space. Combating these issues, public parks do more than provide recreational space. They are fundamental to any efforts focusing on urban revitalization, social justice, and sustainability. In downtown Los Angeles, public parks are rare, especially in low-income communities. Several new public parks have reclaimed abandoned land, unwelcoming spaces, and the City’s brownfields. After years of intense private use and neglect, spent land has been reinvigorated as green communal space.

This study focuses on Vista Hermosa Natural Park, Grand Park, and Los Angeles State Historic Park. It combines previous research with site visits and interviews that explore the degree of success these recent reclamation movements have experienced and if there are any lessons learned than can be applied elsewhere. My conclusion is that the reclamation movement in Los Angeles is largely successful, especially when parks feature multiple benefits such as ecological restoration, recreational enhancement, and cultural engagement. But the less community involvement and public accessibility any reclaimed park has, the less success a park will have in alleviating spatial injustice.