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Court Street

Modern Landscapes

Court Street
New Haven, Connecticut

Heritage Landscapes worked with the Court Street Association and Elm City Parks Conservancy to document the origins, evolution, existing conditions, and historic significance of the Court Street modernist landscape. Court Street is nationally significant as an intact example of a mid-20th century preservation-based urban renewal streetscape. Initially laid out in the late 19th century, the character, organization, and use of Court Street were redesigned in the mid-20th century as part of the broader urban renewal of New Haven. The resulting public landscape is a rare modernist street treatment that shares garden, pedestrian, and vehicle space framed by the late 19th century rowhouse architecture of Court Street. The new streetscape created an intimate scale that favored diverse community use rather than automobiles. Through the project work, Heritage Landscapes discovered that while the modernist streetscape generally conveys its designed, historic character, the Court Street landscape is compromised by specific changes that hinder optimal use and function.  

Phase I of the Court Street Modernist Landscape Preservation, Management & Interpretation Plan forms a basis for the preservation and betterment of the streetscape through the effective planning for initiatives that address identified issues and challenges. Historical analysis reveals the levels of continuity and change evident in the streetscape today. Most prominently, the scale of vegetation has affected the landscape character. Other challenges include dense overhead wiring, deteriorated conditions, and a fragmented approach to care and management of the public space. Overall, current issues detract from a holistic understanding of the evolution and significance of the modernist landscape. Defining current issues and challenges provides a framework from which to develop future planning and implementation efforts. Through on-site observations and discussions with the client group and neighborhood residents, a series of treatment goals were defined.  Identified goals relate to landscape character and aesthetics, use, condition, interpretation, infrastructure, and management. The Preservation, Management & Interpretation Plan: Phase I provides a valuable planning document from which specifc treatment and implementation projects can be defined in Phase II.

Client:
Court Street Association & Elm City Parks Conservancy

Project:
Court Street Modernist Landscape Preservation, Management & Interpretation Plan:  Phase I, 2008-2009

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners