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Capistrano Beach Park Master Plan

PlaceWorks is assisting Orange County Parks with a graphic-intensive master plan to guide efforts to redevelop the damaged Capistrano Beach Park and ensure sustainable coastal access for the public well into the future.



County of Orange Parks Department


Dana Point, California


  • Community Participation
  • Climate Action & Resiliency
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Open Space & Resource Planning
  • Park Planning
  • Graphic Design

Capistrano Beach Park sustained heavy damage from high tides and large waves in the winters of 2015-2016 and 2018-2019. The boardwalk and parts of the parking lot were destroyed, much of the beach eroded, and the basketball courts and restrooms had to be demolished. Besides being subject to severe coastal erosion and the effects of sea-level rise, Capistrano Beach is adjacent to critical infrastructure, such as the Metrolink railroad and Pacific Coast Highway. The parking area and bicycle/pedestrian path provide beach access to locals and visitors and connect to regional bike routes along the coast.

PlaceWorks, teaming with coastal engineers Moffat & Nichol, has led the process to develop a master plan for sustainable coastal access. PlaceWorks conductedmultiple public workshops to gather ideas from the community and share potential solutions. The master plan involved highly focused visual communication and graphic design elements that included:

  • Hand-drawn plan views illustrating different design alternatives that reflected various aspects of site analysis and public feedback;
  • Digital section graphics to support each design alternative, showcasing various potential scenarios on site;
  • Infographics to visually communicate various potential future outcomes of implementing phased adaptation for public coastal access on site; and
  • Public workshop activity sheets to guide participants through the process of site analysis and feedback.