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A Pioneering Perspective on Pershing Square

Town Square Los Angeles from Gensler LA on Vimeo.

As a resident of Downtown Los Angeles, Gensler’s LA office is deeply embedded in the surrounding community and invested in the health, resiliency and sustainable future of our city. We believe in taking a leadership role in the community when it comes to discourse about public space and design and value initiative and exploration when it comes to complex urban issues. As part of our Town Square Initiative, Gensler Los Angeles chose to re-imagine a historic landmark in our own Downtown backyard: Pershing Square.

Pershing Square lies at the confluence of diverse populous districts: the Financial Core, Bunker Hill, Jewelry District, the Historic Downtown District and others.

As a public space, Pershing Square stands witness to the constant contest between the new versus the old; progress versus history; skyscrapers versus market stalls; residents versus visitors, and the unrehearsed versus the programmed. Today, Pershing Square is considered a space in flux, consumed by the unrelenting contest between all these forces, with no clear definition of what it wants to be.

Image © Gensler

The primary goal of the Gensler Los Angeles team was to challenge preconceptions and misconceptions about the role of public open space and what it can be in totality. Over the course of the past year, our Town Square team sought to create an active, participatory design process, tailored to Pershing Square’s local community and unique space. With Pershing Square as a test site, an attempt to establish the rules of the game and a neutral process that is customizable, yet strategically specific enough to yield a custom-tailored Town Square to any community.

Our rigorous research and analysis resulted in the invitation to join Los Angeles City Council District 14’s Pershing Square Task Force, led by Councilmember José Huizar. Gensler will participate as an active member of the new task force, providing guidance and insight to what a future Pershing Square may be.

We are excited to participate in the long term vision for this historic square and further define how design can cultivate experiences and social capacity in the urban environment.

On behalf of all our Gensler LA Town Square team members, we are extremely excited to see what may emerge over the coming months for Pershing Square.

Image © Gensler

Brian Glodney is enchanted by all things urban, and his passion rests in creating healthy, sustainable, and vibrant places and cities. Brian's work has allowed him to study, experience, and work within the thriving metropolis, the downtrodden exurbs, and everything in between. As a Recognized Practitioner of Urban Design, it is his enthusiasm for urban design that permeates his work at every scale, from creating healthy community visions, to urban infill projects, to sports-anchored mixed-use. You can contact Brian at brian_glodney@gensler.com.
Steve Chung is interested in the communal aspects of architecture, how design affects society at large. He has a standing goal of reading at least 20 books a year and enjoys thinking about the confluence of design and social issues. You can contact Steve at steve_chung@gensler.com.

Reader Comments (2)

I am really excited about a remodeled Pershing Square. I have lived next to the park for 7 years and now I work just across it. The one thing I really think would help make the park a place a real community hub would be a gated dog park. It would bring a constant sense of liveliness to the park with people and their pets interacting. I know DTLA is home to more than 20,000 dogs, and their owners. A place where you could let your dog safely play off leash would really invite members of the area to visit the park, people that wouldn't usually go into the park would start making it a daily routine. This would help to create a park that members of the community take pride in, and help to keep the park free from drugs/crime.
09.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Godshaw
I would like to see both a large dog and a small dog gated park.
DTLA deserves an award winning dog park.
It would be best if it were lit in early morning and into the evening
to accommodate the schedules of dog lovers.

In the push for Urban Density in DTLA there are high rises going up
nearby. Many dog lovers have two dogs to provide company for both
while left at home. Between density and the compassion of dog lover's
to provide stimulation when pets are left at home - we are going to see
an explosion in the number of dogs in DTLA - especially within walking
distance of the park. In order to be assured of a pleasant walking experience
on our sidewalks - we desperately need dog parks.
10.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudith

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