Mayor Phil Hardberger championed the acquisition of Voelcker Farm, 311 acres of degraded post-agricultural land north of downtown San Antonio. The design strategy for the city park emphasizes the power of a green microcosm where three eco-regions of Texas converge. The concept for a ‘cultivated wild’ called for preserving the Heritage Oaks and woodlands while restoring an endangered Lone Star icon of vast grasslands.
Resisting pressure to pack the park with programmed active recreation, the community promoted a passive landscape of learning where the majority of the park is reserved for ecological restoration. Carved out of the large landscape mosaic of forest and scrub, smaller carefully crafted outdoor rooms play host to environmental education programs focused on urban ecology.