UC Chooses Firms for People’s Park Renovation

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday January 30, 2007

The team of MKThink and Marta Fry Landscape Architects (both of San Francisco) have been selected by UC Berkeley, to guide a community planning process to help improve People’s Park in the coming months. 

“MKThink will be the team leader in the project and Marta Fry will provide more of the design expertise,” Irene Hegarty, director of Community Relations at UC Berkeley, told the Planet on Monday. 

Hegarty said that the People’s Park Advisory Board Selection subcommittee along with UCB staff and an official from the City of Berkeley had made the final decision from a group of three finalists. 

“MKThink has a very unique approach and are people-centric. They have already visited the park and interviewed people who frequent it,” Hegarty said, adding that the project would involve community engagement. 

“The idea is to look at the uses and programs that both the community and the campus would want to have in the park and recommend landscape improvements to the university,” she said. 

MKThink was singled out from ten firms who had submitted proposals to the university to a request for qualifications. 

“Since they are based out of San Francisco, it makes them accessible and keeps the cost down,” said Hegarty.  

MKThink had worked on many other urban projects and most recently was selected by the Stanford Law School as part of a team to design their New Academic Building. 

“We are looking forward to working with the MKThink team,” Emily Marthinsen, assistant vice chancellor for planning for UC Berkeley, said in a statement. “It bases its work on an understanding of the impact of the built environment on the human condition. It is a people-focused approach that is well-suited for this site.” 

Mark Miller, project principal for MKThink, said that the firm was delighted to be chosen for such an important assignment. 

“People's Park's dynamic history, broad constituents and neighboring community form a valuable foundation for an exciting future. We want to build upon this foundation and create opportunities for an engaging, safe and respectful park for many years to come.” 

Hegarty told the Planet that MKThink would begin working on the project by laying out a community process and researching documents important to the history of the 2.8-acre site located in the south of campus Telegraph Avenue area. 

The People’s Park planning process would begin in March and be completed by fall 2007.