Place Petal

The Issue 

Urban sprawl and the ever-increasing number of global megacities are encroaching on the few remaining wild places on Earth. Crowded, dense development leaves little space for nature and natural systems to thrive, which in turn disrupts the connection between culture and a sense of place. Urban populations are decentralized, which makes feeding these communities in a sustainable way more challenging and also increases transportation impacts and pollution. As the population grows, construction in sensitive areas increases, threatening ecosystems and native species, particularly when invasive species takeover. This type of development places cars at the center of design considerations, prioritizing personal vehicles as the primary mode of travel instead of more sustainable, “people powered” options such as biking and walking. 

Place Petal Intent

The Place Petal is intended to recalibrate how individuals understand and relate to the natural environment that sustains us. Consciousness of the deep story of place and the unique characteristics found in every community are prioritized through this Petal, along with a goal of honoring, protecting, and enhancing the unique stories of a place. The Place Petal articulates where building is acceptable, how to protect and restore a place once it has been developed, and strategies for encouraging the creation of communities that are created for pedestrians rather than automobiles. Appropriately, these communities are also to be supported by local and regional agriculture, since no truly sustainable community can depend on globally sourced food production.

Sustainability in Action at Hillside Gateway & Parkside North 

CSULB is located on the sacred site of Puvungna. We acknowledge that the university and all who work, study, live, and visit here are on the land of the Tongva/Gabrieleño and the Acjachemen/Juaneño Nations who have lived and continue to live here. We recognize the Tongva/Acjachemen Nations and their spiritual connection as the first stewards and the traditional caretakers of this land.

In addition to acknowledging the history and cultural significance of the land upon which Hillside Gateway and Parkside North are built, to meet the Place Petal requirements, the designers of these buildings also worked to ensure that the projects would contribute positively to the ecology of their place and restore or enhance the ecological performance of the site. One aspect of the projects that supports this imperative is the policy against the use of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides for landscaping maintenance. Another element is the native, drought tolerant plants used in the landscape, which were specifically chosen because they are known to attract pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies. Creating habitat for these pollinators improves the overall ecology of the area.

The Place Petal also involves a “habitat exchange” which was accomplished through the protection and rehabilitation of a parcel of land at the Palos Verde Peninsula that is equal to the size of the project site.