September 19: American landscape architect Robert Royston died on this date in 2008


Mitchell Park

Five years ago -- September 19, 2008 -- the world lost renowned American landscape architect Robert Royston. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Royston's career blossomed in Northern California in the 1950s and '60s as America's postwar economy funded new public spaces. Royston's parks were purposely designed to appeal to the young and old, and functionality became an integral part of the aesthetic. Pools of water were shallower toward their centers. Children could safely climb on sculptures with rounded edges, such as the one pictured above, which is located in Palo Alto's Mitchell Park. Along with kid-friendly art, Royston's parks feature playground and picnic areas, walking trails, and open lawns -- all modern ideas Royston thought of first.

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