Students Explore Ways to Improve Unsightly Beach-End Streets

Students Explore Ways to Improve Unsightly Beach-End Streets
This is one of many designs created by students. More can be seen online.

Cal Poly Pomona landscape architecture majors have their handiwork on display in downtown Laguna Beach. The students spent winter quarter developing proposals to improve three beach-end streets (roads that deadend at the ocean) that were in dire need of attention.

A large vacant storefront at 225 Forest Ave. was recently donated to showcase the students diagrams and models, which are on display until the space is leased.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce's Beautification Council asked Cal Poly Pomona landscape architecture faculty members to assist in the project, which was led by assistant professor Andy Wilcox and adjunct faculty members Paul Norconk, Mark Holden, James Becerra and Sam Sabin.

“Our students got a chance to apply what they have learned in class to a real-life situation,” said Wilcox. “We asked the students to look at the street ends from all aspects, open themselves up to the possibilities and provide something that is not only useful, but attractive, accessible and an appropriate fit for their community and environment.”

Nearly 80 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Landscape Architecture 332: Landscape Construction and took on the project in small teams. Students spoke with residents, delved into each sites unique history and patterns of use before designing the beach-street ends.

“As a landscape architect most of what we build is public space, and the public has opinions about the space we all share,” said graduate student Scott Goodman. “It has been exciting to be at the heart of that dialog and to learn about the many roadblocks and limited avenues. This has taught me that landscape architects need not only to be great designers, but must also be relentless in their involvement with the community if they ever want to see their designs constructed.”

The designs can be viewed at