Sasaki to Lead the Re-Envisioning of Santa Monica Airport

Santa Monica Airport | Photo credit: Josh Withers

The City of Santa Monica has awarded an RFP (Request for Proposal) to Sasaki to evaluate the current conditions of Santa Monica Airport, gather public feedback and suggest options to convert the airport into a park.

Sasaki has been chosen to lead the redevelopment of Santa Monica Airport into a vibrant “Great Park.” This ambitious initiative aims to integrate nature, recreation, and community spaces for Santa Monica’s residents and visitors. Sasaki was selected based on the firm’s extensive experience in reimagining airports into parks and collaborating effectively with community members, city leadership, and staff.

“As a Recreation and Parks Commissioner for nearly 14 years, I advocated for more park space. I am impressed by Sasaki and eagerly anticipate the inception of a valuable asset for our community.”

Santa Monica Mayor Phil Brock

The 227-acre airport property represents almost five percent of the city’s total land area and Sasaki will lead research and public outreach efforts in five distinct phases to be completed by the end of 2025:

  • Phase 1: Charting the Course – Project Kick-off, Alignment, Document Review, Future Needs and Desires (3 months)
  • Phase 2: Discovering the Place and Setting the Stage – Existing Conditions Analysis, Guiding Principles (5 months)
  • Phase 3: Defining the Future of Place – Scenario Testing and Plans (8 months)
  • Phase 4: The Path Ahead – Potential Implementation Planning (3 months)
  • Phase 5: Preferred Scenario Plan Vision Book (2 months)

Each phase of the project will involve public engagement, research, and strategic planning to shape the future of the airport land, with a focus on park and recreational areas.

“I’ve dedicated my life to creating parks and landscapes that connect people to one another. As a mother and a designer, I believe in making spaces for exploration, leisure, and play—parks that resonate with us and enrich our sense of place. We are deeply proud that Sasaki has a hand in shaping the future of Santa Monica and creating a Great Park for the city.”

Anna Cawrse, Sasaki principal and landscape architect

The airport currently occupies a vast area of open space, which includes the runway, car parks, and aircraft storage. It also comprises 40 acres of pre-existing buildings, such as Barker Hangar, the Museum of Flying, and the Airport Arts Campus. Starting in the spring of 2024, the city of Santa Monica will begin the “Airport Conversion Planning Project”.

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/