The Seattle firm which designed the London park which is a memorial to Princess Diana has been selected to design the Civic Park at Hemisfair, which will be the centerpiece of the city's redesigned urban downtown, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Gustafson Guthrie Nichol will begin work on designing the park, along with local architects, with the goal of having the park open by 2018, to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Hemisfair '68 and the city's 500th birthday.


  Like the rest of the Hemisfair development, the  eight acre Civic Park, which will be named something else when it opens, will be built not for tourists, but for local residents.  It will include playgrounds, an urban green space, and will be one of three parks in Hemisfair.


  GGN has designed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus in Seattle, as well as the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago.


  The Hemisfair development has restricted hotels and other tourist attractions in  favor of amenities to attract local residents downtown.


  Hemisfair CEO Andres Andjuar says Hemisfair Park will serve the same 'anchoring' function that Central Park performs in New York City and that Grant Park performs in Chicago.


  "We believe that great cities have great downtowns," Andujar said.  "And  great downtowns have great urban parks.  With plans of plazas, courtyards, green space, art and sculpture, cultural amenities, residences, and local businesses, Hemisfair will mature our city center into a collective space bursting with users and excitement."