A Pioneering Perspective on Pershing Square
Brian Glodney and Steve Chung in Los Angeles, Planning & Urban Design, Urban Planning

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.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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