Our Work

A united community restores hope, play, and

pride in South Central Los Angeles.

This playground represents more than just a place to play. Our children in Watts need to know that they matter.

Donny Joubert

President
Watts Gang Task Force

In the heart of the historic Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles lies Nickerson Gardens, the largest public housing development west of the Mississippi River. Its central playground, neglected for too long, had fallen into disrepair and misuse before being revitalized through the power of collective effort and goodwill. To make the restoration a reality, a collaborative partnership formed between the Nickerson community, NBBJ | ESI Design, equipment manufacturer Kompan, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), and musician Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The new 17,656-square-foot project comprises a playground, exercise area, picnic tables, and seating. It is a welcoming space to be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities that families can be proud of. In order to truly serve the community, the playground was designed to be highly durable and perform well in the Southern California climate, with specific materials chosen to maintain color over time and be easily cleaned and repaired. An innovative rainwater capture and filtration system installed in an open grid beneath the site waters the landscaping during dry seasons, while misting poles and shade structures provide relief from the summer heat.

Experience Design

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Content

Data Visualization

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Latest

Nickerson Gardens Playground

Los Angeles, CA • 2023

A united community restores hope, play, and

pride in South Central Los Angeles.

This playground represents more than just a place to play. Our children in Watts need to know that they matter.

In the heart of the historic Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles lies Nickerson Gardens, the largest public housing development west of the Mississippi River. Its central playground, neglected for too long, had fallen into disrepair and misuse before being revitalized through the power of collective effort and goodwill. To make the restoration a reality, a collaborative partnership formed between the Nickerson community, NBBJ | ESI Design, equipment manufacturer Kompan, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), and musician Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The new 17,656-square-foot project comprises a playground, exercise area, picnic tables, and seating. It is a welcoming space to be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities that families can be proud of. In order to truly serve the community, the playground was designed to be highly durable and perform well in the Southern California climate, with specific materials chosen to maintain color over time and be easily cleaned and repaired. An innovative rainwater capture and filtration system installed in an open grid beneath the site waters the landscaping during dry seasons, while misting poles and shade structures provide relief from the summer heat.