Placemaking in Downtown Los Angeles: Event Report

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Information about Placemaking in Downtown Los Angeles: Event Report

Published on April 6, 2009




First of several planned outreach events, PLACEMAKING in Downtown Los Angeles is an interactive workshop to get our community's feedback their priorities for our neighborhood. We will be tracking community feedback and will provide a full report to the team of professionals during the SDAT process.


2. Steve Davies and Andres Ramirez represented Project for Public Spaces at the event. Davies covered a range of topics but the core of the presentation were: sociability; access and linkages; comfort and image; uses and activities . It was an interesting presentation (you will get another chance to hear them if you're interested - coming up by the CRA-LA in late April. There is also a San Francisco public markets conference and Steve Davies recommend we consider participating (April 24-26). Suggestions such as benches for artists, movable chairs, and sidewalks as underutilized public space brought questions from the community stakeholders. Davies encourages us to embrace the assets of a community and program our civic spaces to bring these assets together.  Project for Public Spaces (PPS)

3. The event was held at The Exchange , courtesy of J. Russell Brown (also President of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council). Thank you for hosting our first event! Getting started

4. Steve Davies of Project for Public Spaces (PPS) and James Rojas presented the concept of "placemaking" with a series of images, examples of other cities and our own, and through an interactive workshop where we designed our place. Event started at 7pm Steve Davies of Project for Public Spaces (PPS)

5. James Rojas lets us pick our pieces - and we each have the chance (20 minutes or less) to create our own place. We all determine our own scale - which we will each discuss in a moment. Get your pieces! Sorry about the blurry pictures

6. English planning: order and square gardens. Daniel Kane imagines green space for sidewalks - a giant tree canopy. If you're interested - the Sustainability Committee has a project for tree planting and an urban forestry component!) The streets are our park space . Daniel Kane



9. It’s definitely engaging!

10. People and commerce and good times. By creating a grid of jewel-like kiosks , Patrick Helmer takes out the walls and reshapes Pershing Square. Major visual nodes (scuplture or a bar) create interest so you can wander off the path set by the grid and weave your way through the space. Patrick Helmer

11. Jeremy Levine

12. Stella Dottir (Stella Dottir Gallery) Stella Dottir designs a city where everyone has a place to take care of something. She likes garden so this is her garden . The challenge is that people will plant it but who will maintain it? We will be working to create community partnerships to share the responsibility of planting more trees for shade in our community.

13. Gail Zone Gail Zone imagines a public spaces with bleachers for public entertainment . Trees are needed for shade .

14. Will Wright of AIA-LA He's not sure why he went for the traditional grid but Will Wright wonders about the influence of the automobile and what we will do with our streets (potentially when cars are obsolete). When we think of buildings downtown, are the buildings/city blocks shaped so the car can navigate around them? What does that do to our city? Good use of natural materials too!

15. Omar Asensio sees a more asymmetrical downtown with a lot of trees . He creates a space where you would leave your car at the edge of the city. Omar Asensio and Jennifer Regan (Sustainability Committee) Jennifer Regan is an advocate of density and would introduce natural spaces with native plants and animals to create a closed loop (balancing density with local natural resources). Only 13 miles from the ocean, why not create a beach-like environment downtown? After all, our storm drains all empty into the ocean!

16. Alex Houston has a fantastic vision of a city which may turn underground . Imagine if we built so high there was no place else to go - would we go down next? Alex Houston

17. The red spine is Harlem Place (which runs between 3rd Street and 9th Street) which, in Stuart Patterson's design, is a vibrant pedestrian greenspace . Cool! Stuart Patterson

18. For Coach Ron, nothing brings people together quite like sports and he envisions a baseball diamond . Coach Ron would like to see more places for adult sports and recreation as way of bringing community together . Coach Ron

19. Grow downtown’s residential population by building the green space necessary for a healthy urban environment. Build green space and they will come

20. Dawna Nolan, Director ,Area-Wide Artist on the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council describes adding green space - lots of it - downtown. More living things will bring more people. More people bring retail. Dawna Nolan wants to create more inviting spaces so we can tap into the exceptional sense of community in Downtown. Dawna Nolan is actively part of the Sustainability Committee and is helping us get the Rooftop Edible & Composting Containers project started. For more information, go online to Dawna Nolan (Neighborhood Council, Director Area-wide Artist)

21. Daniel Friedman imagines a downtown that has emerged from the ashes with more park space and social gathering space . Daniel Friedman

22. Stanley Michaels focused on Angels Crest Park - by removing the fencing, improving accessibility to the site, the improved park becomes a place for children to play and neighbors to sit under the shade of beautiful, mature exotic trees. Stanley Michaels, Neighborhood Council Resident Director

23. Don Garza emphasizes the importance of water as a key resources and imagines a city with public water fountains , open space, and a reduced heat island effect . Don Garza

24. Daveed Kapoor creates a hyper-dense, car-free urban environment with fitness jungles , food towers, and the re-appropriation of interstitial spaces (the spaces in-between ). Daveed Kapoor

25. Andres Ramirez (Project for Public Spaces) Regular transportation, places to cross the street, and diverse options all contribute to a vibrant neighborhood according to Andres Ramirez.

26. Natalia Aguilar creates a healthy space for grandmothers and children - by combining open space near retail, creating a place where families can enjoy the day. Autumn Rooney designs an urban wildlife preserve with free housing , senior centers, and a baseball diamond (for Coach Ron). Natalia Aguilar and Autumn Rooney

27. Steve Davies, a self-proclaimed place-aholic, designs a market for downtown with vendor stalls, performance area, and even a local produce restaurant. A very special thank you to PPS for taking the time to join us tonight at our first outreach event. Steve Davies Project for Public Spaces

28. General Jeff describes transportation around the city and better schools with a variety of housing options . Downtown would have several options for public green space - whether playing fields, zoo, etc. - and diverse retail throughout the city. General Jeff Neighborhood Council Resident Director

29. Shiraz Tangri, Public Chair of the PLUC (Planning & Land Use Committee) of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. L.A.

30. Shiraz Tangri proposes that Los Angeles has an urban identity crisis because it lacks iconic public spaces. Los Angeles has put too much emphasis on private spaces and needs an iconic space - could Pershing Square be it?

31. With more than 25 people in attendance at the first outreach meeting, this meeting gave the Sustainability Committee insight into the priorities of our community. Over the coming weeks, there will be several other placemaking workshops around the neighborhood. We will continue to collect public feedback as we develop our community greening strategy with the assistance of the AIA SDAT grant. If you have pictures from the event, please let us know! Email us at [email_address]

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