PPS worked with the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency and representatives from over 100 community organizations to create a community based vision to revitalize Chinatown’s Central and West Plaza and an adjacent underutilized alleyway. Central and West Plazas once served as the vibrant heart of Los Angeles’s Chinatown, yet recent years have seen and absence of investment and declining interest from outside populations. PPS used a variety of community outreach tools including its Place Imagination Exercise, key stakeholder meetings, onsite observations, and multiple community workshops to envision solutions and prioritize revitalization strategies.
As a result of these efforts PPS created short, medium, and long-term improvement plans to revitalize the plazas. These recommendations ranged from facade and lighting improvements to additional public space amenities, programming ideas, and partnerships to facilitate the implementation of the vision.
One of the community’s primary recommendations included the creation of a night market. PPS developed a layout strategy and business plan to implement the market in the coming months in conjunction with a lighting festival concept that also came out of the community process. Additionally, PPS utilized the community’s recommendations to create a management strategy. PPS then worked with local leadership organizations to streamline and enhance management efforts and revenue generating streams within the project area.
The LA/CRA has committed nearly $3 million dollars for improvement as a result of this community process. They have also hired a local programming organization to carry out a number of the community’s programming ideas.
Many great public spaces have grown out of communities resisting development. It is the evolution from opposition to proactive visioning - helping to create, finance, and manage public spaces - that often makes the opposition successful. Congress Square, and the community around it, are forging this story of transformation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio caused quite a stir around New York City yesterday as he floated the idea of tearing up the pedestrian plaza in Times Square. This statement was the culmination of several days of debate centered around predatory panhandling and the square’s growing number of “street performers.”