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Gensler at SXSW Eco 2016: Transforming Public Place

Image © Gensler

Our world is rapidly urbanizing and our relationship with the city is being redefined. To address this, we must bring a fresh approach to urban design, transforming public spaces into dynamic, vibrant experiences that bring the community together.

The Los Angeles metropolitan area is in the midst of this progression, specifically in Long Beach and Downtown LA. Meet the SXSW Eco Place by Design finalists that are reinventing the way we experience public space: The Loop and the Town Square Initiative/Pershing Square Renew.

The Loop: Revitalization Finalist

The long-vacant corner of Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, CA, is now home to an effervescent, community engaging, bold public open space. The Loop is the next generation urban activation platform bringing together the latest in building technology, programmatic activation, and visual impact.

The newly opened park is equal part oasis, urban connector and community platform. The 7,700 square foot interactive playground framed by a colorful 500-foot long, 25-foot high space truss. Designed with internal LED lighting and music, The Loop radiates with a pre-programmed light display each night and is a place where visitors are engaged by a combination of the arts, music, games, food and beverage and other community-driven programming.

This project was made possible through the strong partnership between Gensler, STEREOBOT, Brightview and Downtown Long Beach Associates, representing the future of civic engagement and public-private partnerships in Long Beach.

Instagram: @theloopdtlb, @gensler_la, @stereo_bot, @brightviewdesigngroup, @dlba, @cityoflongbeach #theloop

Town Square Initiative/Pershing Square Renew: Urban Strategy + Civic Engagement Finalist

The Town Square Initiative is Gensler’s global prompt to study the future role of open space in our rapidly urbanizing world, and as Downtown Los Angeles is experiencing an urban renaissance, Pershing Square is the perfect model.

Pershing Square lies at the confluence of diverse populous districts in Downtown Los Angeles: 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 with no clear definition of what it wants to be.

Gensler’s Town Square Initiative research led Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar to create the taskforce, Pershing Square Renew, in 2013 to reimagine Pershing Square. Pershing Square Renew has since created public-private partnerships to fundraise for the new park, courted community engagement and held an international design competition in which Agence Ter and Team has recently been selected to redesign the five-acre space.

Instagram: @psrenew, @gensler_la, @cmjosehuizar #psrenew

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.