KDI is partnering with Desert Recreation District (DRD) and Oasis residents to design a 14-acre Productive Public Space - the second in our Eastern Coachella Valley network. The park combines exercise and recreational amenities with carefully designed planting and green infrastructure, and will be activated with resident-led programs. Phase 1 of the park has been built. Phase 2 will be completed when DRD secures funding.
Oasis is a rural farmworker community in the Eastern Coachella Valley.
Many of its inhabitants live in poverty, without access to basic services. With no defining spaces to act as centers of activity within the community, Oasis residents are unable to gather and recreate - and are nearly invisible to outside decisionmakers.
Design kicked off with the recruitment of a youth Street Team, who repurposed an agricultural shade structure to create a mobile research beacon for community engagement.
Both the community’s needs and narratives were woven into the park’s design through a series of workshops. A Leadership Committee was established and trained to co-manage and maintain the completed park in partnership with Desert Recreation District.
In Phase 1, we built two soccer fields, a marketplace, walking paths, and a playground. Phase 2 will include a community center and a garden.
Desert-adapted and native planting, inspired by the surrounding landscape, will promote discovery and exploration. Resident-led activities based there will include food collective Antojitos Mexicanos Oasis, a childcare collective, and a disaster response program run by the Leadership Committee.
The new public space brings much-needed amenities for recreation, socialization, and exercise to residents, enables new opportunities for income generation, and serves as a catalytic space to anchor the community.
The process of co-designing and programming the park has built local organizing and leadership capacity, with members of the Leadership Committee and Antojitos Mexicanos Oasis collective beginning to advocate on behalf of broader community needs and lead local change independently of the project.