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Urban Design

Clear Lake Urban Forest

The goals of creating the Clear Lake Urban Forest were to develop a  sense of place along a barren and utilitarian downtown waterfront and to protect the drinking water for the City of West Palm Beach.


Clear Lake is the southernmost component of Grassy Waters Preserve, a wetland that functions as the city's drinking water catchment system. The lake serves as  storage for the  raw, surface water that provides potable water for the city. The project provided an ideal opportunity to create a protective buffer for this valuable resource.


In order to establish connectivity with the parent site, the design parameters called for a native plant palette  based on species found at Grassy Waters. The project also expanded the coastal wildlife habitats for indigenous water foul and fish.


The urban forest serves as a landscape mitigation bank, providing a designated site for  new developments that need to replace tree canopy or relocate trees in order to make way for construction. Developing the mitigation bank  proved to be an effective way to construct the urban forest. Within one year, one mile of forest was constructed with community participation. Corporate sponsors  and volunteers were enlisted to plant trees at the site on Earth Day.

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