Professor Helps Redefine Sacramento Public Spaces

May 30, 2017 | Culture, On Campus, Spring/Summer 2017

New designs for some of Sacramento’s well known but underused downtown public spaces are in the works, with a little help from a UC Davis professor and his students.

Michael Rios, associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental design, has been instrumental in conceptualizing changes to Sacramento’s Capitol Mall and the Broadway Corridor.

“There’s an importance to enlarging the public sphere through a city’s public spaces,” said Rios. “Design can help stage positive interactions between people who are different from one another.”

Design scenarios for Broadway helped the city receive a $7 million grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to implement the first phase of the project. Next up, the city will move forward with Capitol Mall. The formal design process will help identify an official plan. Concepts focus on an adaptable, multiuse space that works for cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians.

City council member Steve Hansen enlisted Rios on the project, adding, “The role of UC Davis in this is to bring a fresh look, new ideas and new energy to places that a lot of folks think could use improvement.”