Park place

Katherine Bridges fixes up old parks and designs new ones in New York

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Park place

Photo by: John English

Katherine Bridges (BLA ’77) is always looking for ways to make resources more sustainable.

A landscape architect at New York City Parks and Recreation, she oversees every step of the park planning process, “from scope stage to contract document phase,” she says.

Since 2000, Bridges has been the Brooklyn Borough supervisor at NYC Parks and Recreation, working on projects like Canarsie Park, Venable Park, and sidewalk planning, as well as serving as an advisor to the chief of horticulture. She’s started parks from scratch and reconstructed existing ones, large and small.

“There’s just a lot of working it through the bureaucratic system. It can get quite complex politically,” she says. “A park that (just) has to be reconstructed seems almost easy.”

She worked on Maria Hernandez Park, built in the 1890s, and reconstructed a World War I memorial.

Bridges studied with Pietro Porcinai in Cortona, Italy, as part of UGA’s artist-in-residence program.

She now has the unique opportunity to combine design, beauty, and environmental improvement in her job.

“An important part of my designs are natural systems,” she says. “Knowing the state of the planet now, I feel really good about the work that I do. I feel like it’s making it better.”

About the Author

—Julia Reidy (ABJ '07) is a freelance writer in Atlanta