Philadelphia’s Navy Yard is proving that an office park doesn’t have to be a drab space. The 1,200-acre property that was once “a virtual desert of vacant industrial buildings and abandoned parade grounds,” as described in, is now a thriving office park with a recently completed Central Green. This 5-acre area designed by the landscape architects at James Corner Field Operations, caters to young professionals working at Navy Yard offices, in addition to future residents who will live in the site’s soon-to-be-built apartment buildings.

Central Green has a vibrant mix of landscapes and activity spaces. A gray and yellow 20-foot-wide running track rings the space, forming a recreational band around a collection of smaller circular spaces, each one offering a specific activity or environment. These include a lawn space, bocce ball courts, meadows, fitness spaces, a hammock grove, a large communal table and food truck parking. To visually connect Central Green’s main areas, James Corner Field Operations used pops of yellow in various elements—from café tables to Ping-Pong tables.

Also built into the space is what the landscape architects call a wet meadow, a bioretention area that collects and treats stormwater from Central Green and an adjacent street, in addition to a number of rain gardens.

Construction of the space took nine months and cost $8.2 million.

“Central Green unites the cutting edge urban potential of the site with its native habitat, resulting in a new type of urban environment that is sustainable, green and natural, as well as social, active and healthy,” says James Corner, founder and director of James Corner Field Operations. “It’s a bold landscape of flowering meadows, rain gardens and specimen trees that serve as the interactive backdrop to thematic interior ‘rooms.’ Central Green is a model of what a livable city could include with the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment.”