2022 Texas ASLA
Prairie Dog Town is an experience unique to Lubbock, TX that has seen better days, and is in need of creative re-imagining. Currently the space is designed to be able to watch and interact with the Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs that are so common within our region of the Texas Plains. However, one current limitation of this site is that it only allows for informal observation of the prairie dogs and does little to contribute to the health or diversity of the ecosystem.
The proposed project aims to expand beyond merely observing the animals and explore the deeper potential to inter-weave ecological restoration with recreation and a celebration of local culture. Expanding the original site to encapsulate the entire bluff looking over both the Meadowbrook Canyon Golf Course and Mackenzie Park, the proposed design will feature a series of local small businesses and an open marketplace set on a backdrop of a larger short-grass prairie restoration project.
The shortgrass prairie rehabilitation will attempt to recreate successful planting mixes, aimed at increasing the biodiversity throughout the site. Strategies like diverting on site drainage to a designed system of channels will allow niche ecological relationships to form in these spaces. Lubbock has faced a decline in natural predators, animals like hawks, need trees and scrubland to flourish, this plan aims to create such environments for them. Restoring key components of the prairie ecosystem will not only return prairie dog populations to healthy population numbers through the introduction of predators, but the remaining prairie dogs will be stronger communities that can continue to function as a keystone species for the region. This project is simultaneously an active pedestrian boulevard featuring a network of social activities framed around a series of curated vistas, as well as a connection to both larger cultural and environmental identities.