Urban Renewal Awards, Los Angeles State Historic Park
For most of the 20th century, this large plot of land in downtown Los Angeles was used as an immense Union Pacific railroad yard. When Union Pacific closed shop in 1989, the property laid dormant until 2001. As California State Parks hemmed and hawed about how best to convert the space into a park, artist Lauren Bon, backed by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, had her own ideas. With the help of The Trust for Public Land, they excavated some 5,000 tons of soil contaminated with hydrocarbons and metals, planted more than a million corn seeds, and installed an irrigation system to create her artwork, Not a Cornfield. The large crop has now been harvested to make way for bike trails and fields of wildflowers. Los Angeles State Historic Park is still being landscaped, but close to half of the property is open to the public.