Friday, February 22, 2013

What are your ideas to improve Pershing Square?

The LA Public Space Project conducts innovative participatory workshops which allows individuals to use their sensory experiences and imagination to re-envision Los Angeles' public spaces and ultimately help contribute to more lively and accessible public spaces for everyone in the Greater Los Angeles area. For our first event, we would like to invite women and girls to help us experience, examine, and redesign this underutilized public space through playful interactive models and group discussion. 

The event will take place in Pershing Square on Sunday, March 3rd, from 1:00 – 3:00PM and facilitated by James Rojas, Anna Peccianti and Monika Shankar.

History of Pershing Square: The five-acre park currently known as Pershing Square has gone through several iterations over its 163-year history. Originally simply known as Block 15 on the southwest corner of historic Los Angeles, the park was little more than open pasture. In 1866, the city decided to designate Block 15 as a public square and in 1870 named it Los Angeles Park. Coordinating with wealthy landowners, the city raised $1600 to fence in the park and plant trees. What followed over a span of several decades were numerous redesigns and renovations of the park, as well as several names including Plaza Abaja (Lower Plaza), Sixth Street Park, St. Vincent Park, Central Park and finally Pershing Square in 1918. Following WWI, the park increasingly became known as a space for public speeches and preaching, as well as a gathering place for the underprivileged and marginalized. With growing complaints from local businesses, the city elected to renovate the park yet again in the 1950’s, this time building a subterranean parking garage and a fenced off lawn above. The shift in the public park’s confined appearance corresponded with the downtown’s decline as a residential and business center leading to less use of the public space. Finally, the park went through yet another redesign in the 1990’s. Keeping the historic context and the current state of Pershing Square in mind, the LA Public Space Project would like to give women and girls the opportunity to analyze the space and express their ideas about what the next iteration of Pershing Square should be like.

No previous experience necessary to participate in this workshop. Just bring your thoughts, a bottle of water and sunscreen. We will bring the rest!

In addition to RSVP’ing on Facebook, please send an email to Monika at Final instructions will be sent via email. Feel free to share this event with your friends! However, space is limited to 20 participants, so please RSVP as soon as possible!

We look forward to seeing you there!

~James Rojas, Anna Peccianti, and Monika Shankar


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