Opinion

People brainstormed ... and a cloudburst erupted


(Christopher Janney)
While loft-dwellers tend to leave downtown for leisure activities, the lower-income community stays in downtown ... . Our "Anti-Park" caters to the needs of the locals, providing entertainment, leisure, shopping and dining facilities that bustle like Olvera Street.
— Charissa Chan, Jacqueline Nguyen, Alondra Rodriguez, Ruby Sanchez, "Anti-Park"
Maybe the Museum of Contemporary Art should use the 16 acres as a sculpture garden similar to the 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
— Steven Rosen, "Art Parks, Earthworks and Sculpture Gardens"
The People's Motion Picture Plaza would re-establish the relationship between the city's core and its most important industry ... Living as we do in a city that is among the world's most culturally diverse, a regular multi-ethnic diet of world cinema -- viewed in a shared public experience that always has been integral to the magic of the movies -- would go a long way to bridging cultural differences.
— Greg Ptacek, founder of the Silver Lake Film Festival, "The People's Motion Picture Plaza"

(Studio IMC)
In the County Mall, is a marvelous fountain. It beautifully represents the stylistic sensibilities of the era of the Cold War, Sputnik and the space race, the aerospace industry, and the whole milieu of the 1950s and early 1960s. It is, I believe, one of the best public fountains in Southern California. It should not be lost.
— Matthew Hetz
Re-build some of the buildings that formerly occupied Bunker Hill ... A few out of scale, old fashioned buildings in the midst of all this concrete could bring a note of grace and dignity back to a place that once had an abundance of both.
— Tim Quinn

(Ron Pekar and Sandy McDaniel)
I'm not much of a visionary, but I have spent my whole life in Los Angeles, and I feel that we need some legitimate means to allow people here to become "natives" of this region - to connect with its history, natural and built environment. How about building an "Ulama" court somewhere in the park? Ulama is commonly referred to as "the ballgame played by Native Americans."
— Josef Bray-Ali, "The Ulama Court"
It would be great to build a children's playground that illustrates the principles of physics. There are lots of fun ways to tweak play equipment -- such as swings, merry-go-rounds, and teeter totters -- to maximize awareness of the physical world.
— Susan North
The four tiered space between City Hall and the Music Center could feature an amphitheater, a Japanese garden, a walk-through aviary, and a model boat pond patterned on the one at the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.
— Francis Winiarski
Keep the politicians away from the project.
— Gerald Kobata
A contemporary California urban meadow gently slopes up from City Hall to the Music Center ... — Architect and urban designer P. Vaughan Davies, "L.A.'s Great Lawn and Urban Meadow"
The park should have an international theme, with each section of the park celebrating the unique history of each continent.
— Jennifer Hicks, volunteer with SAY Yes
Imagine water running down the side of Disney Concert Hall or a rainforest projected on nearby skyscrapers ...
— Studio IMC, "Park of the Future"
A mobile recording studio could capture the oral history of L.A.
— National Public Radio vice president for programming Jay Kernis, StoryCorps
Park visitors can Web-surf inside the Web-Port.
— Designer Michael Jantzen
Totems made of colored glass project images of passersby on the plaza floor.
— Architects Gregory Taousson and Paola Giaconia, "Private Goes Public"
The Reflection Pond emphasizes the strong connection between the DWP and City Hall.
— Jennifer Birkeland, Corey Fox, Lauren McCullough, Samantha Moran and Daniel Miller, "Grand Avenue Civic Park"
Imagine an urban wilderness ...
— David Mabs, Angie June, Michele Licea and Sonya Noriega, "Civic Square"
Imagine a physical connection between the civic heart of the city and its original life source: the L.A. River.
— Michelle Landis and Maria Landoni de Rose, "Civic Link"
The continuous flow of water activates the park, unifies it as a landscape, and draws people through the site.
— Derek Allen, Beige Berryman, Virginia Gomez, Todd Hutchins, Steven Mar and L. Lee Wong, "Grand Esplanade"
Solar-powered escalator arcades could have "green" walls that attract wildlife.
— Jenny Capone, Arlene Fetizanan, Madolyn Jones, Maria Spinozzi, Chaomin Yang and Lila Youn, "Grand Avenue Green"
Travis Hogan, a kid living on skid row, decided the park needs sharks, a skate park, a Sizzler ... and a jail.
Flowing fountains from the DWP down to City Hall provide a meditative break from the cacophony of the surrounding city.
— Artist Stuart Rapeport, "Cascading Water Park"
Imagine recapturing California's agricultural history by surrounding fruit trees with mirrored walls ...
— Matias Viegener, Dave Burns and Austin Young, "Endless Orchard"
Strong ideas can turn a sloping site into an exciting series of spaces.
— Jimmy Miyoshi, Robert Apodaca, Dave Chong, Jeremy Fletcher, Mike Jacobs, Jeremy Limsenben and Aaron Neubert, "StriaPark"
What if every region in LA had its own space in the park? Just as the city has been created by sub-division, we would subdivide zones within the park. Each geographic region or neighborhood council would then be given the opportunity and responsibility to create and maintain their own space. Imagine -- for the first time in our history, one place would contain a piece of every part of our vast, sprawling city!
— Ron Geiger

(Robert Apodaca, Dave Chong, Jeremy Fletcher, Mike Jacobs, Jeremy Limsenben, Jimmy Miyoshi and Aaron Neubert)
Imagine an online database that allows users to upload imagery -- and then experience it in person, in the park.
— Claire Cottrell, "I Dream L.A."
We propose an electronic glass wall that allows people within view to contribute photos and text via cell phones and laptops. Offerings join the circulating pool of images, evolving into a conversation about meaning, place and person.
— Anne Bray, Dough McCulloh and Ted Fisher, "A Digital Forum"
Imagine a quiet, acoustic oasis in the middle of the city.
— Artist Christopher Janney, "Sonic Shadows"
A park is more than a horizontal ground plane. It's also the surrounding facades and vertical surfaces.
— Lita Albuquerque, Mitchell De Jarnett and Mohamed Sharif
A "freeway" path system offers circulation, infrastructure and a form synonymous with Los Angeles.
— Crystal Wang, Paulina Bouyer-Magana and Adam Harwell, "Itinerant Interchange"
I am interested in a floating pathway that rises to different levels throughout the Grand Avenue project. The pathway would include pods for people to play, eat, or rest, and pods that house interactive video art linked to pods in other countries.
— Julie Rico
We have developed a "Smart Fountain" that is aware of the actions of the visitors around it. The configuration of jets or pools of water can be designed as the park evolves in the master plan. The key component to the concept of the fountains is that they are responsive to the people and the city -- as visible nerves within the giant organism of the city.
— Artists Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess, "Urban Organism: Smart Fountain"

(Travis Hogan)
At a conference on the uses of technology for education, I saw a series of fountains built in a park in Barcelona on the site where they had a World Fair a few years ago. These fountains were dry, unless a group of 15-20 people got together to dance around them -- and then the water spouted in rhythm with the dance. Families who came to the park had to stop each other to get a "quorum" for the dance, so that temporary connections between visitors were made, everyone had a great time, and the water flowed! I think such spontaneous/cooperative opportunities, helped by technology, would be ideal for LA.
— Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The park should contain pedestals holding large Victorian Birdhouses, replicas of homes that, at one time, lined Bunker Hill. The birdhouses could be sponsored by any Los Angeles County city, corporation, organization or private citizen. They should be authentic down to the last detail. A plaque giving the history of the house will be placed near the replica.
— Douglas Alandrobish
A perfect model of an urban oasis already exists. We need merely learn from it and keep our creation simple. It's Hyde Park in London. Tell the trend-setters to retreat to the Westside, please.
— Michael Irwin, "Central Park"
We need Beauty, Beauty and more Beauty! And Silence!
— Barrie Jaeger
Stop fooling around and have Robert Irwin design it.
— Harlan Lee
You want ideas for this boondoggle, so here's my best. We have a terrible homeless problem down on skid row. Why not make the new park the Homeless Park? A place for the homeless to congregate and receive needed services, all while communing with nature. The former County Commissioner Building can be used for housing, conveniently located right next to the County Court. There's already a huge fountain to pee in - you've heard about those porta-potties. Columnist Steve Lopez can lead the parade of homeless to their new encampment, the vast majority of which can sit right across from the front doors of Times Mirror Square. It's a win-win.
— Scott Saltzburg, "Grand Inter- whatever- cutsey-name-you- call-it"
Elements in the Grand Avenue Park should have multiple uses - nothing should be only what it is.
— Eric Owen Moss, Southern California Institute of Architecture director
Most trips to the park will be incidental and spontaneous, not planned excursions. So to appear safe and approachable to the average passerby, the park must be largely visible from the street. It categorically must be surrounded by narrow two-way vehicular streets on all sides.
— Architect Elizabeth Moule
If you wish to see vulgar, vacuous, expensive and useless public space in Los Angeles, check out Pershing Square. It is already on its way to oblivion.
— Architect Stefanos Polyzoides
This project is obviously driven from the top. So my short answer? And no joke. Or excess pride. Get Eli Broad to read my book.
— David Sucher, author of "City Comforts"
The "Not a Cornfield" experiment (with a temporary planting of rows of corn) in the future state park east of Chinatown bears watching. Like the Christo and Jeanne-Claude installation of saffron-colored gates in Central Park earlier this year, "Not a Cornfield" demonstrates that another way to stimulate public interest in an urban space is to emphasize the temporary nature of a use. It's like driving by a garage sale or yard sale, with corn. You have to pull over.
— Urban planner and former L.A. councilman Michael K. Woo
Make this site one that demonstrates creative and beautiful on-site storm water management. Take it one step further and collect all of the runoff from the neighborhood (about 160 acres), clean it, store it, re-use it for irrigation and some snazzy water features.
— Urban designer Marcia McNally
The new downtown park should simultaneously make a generalized statement regarding the City of Angels -- palms, statuary, fountains, historical monuments and references -- and juxtapose such a statement with an intricate, intimate, and ongoing festival, a Tivoli Gardens for the Southland, full of only-in-Los-Angeles surprises. Visitors to this park should be able to experience the grandeur and historicity of Los Angeles and at the same time encounter it as a joyful and exuberant place, electric with a certain demotic and sometimes wacky energy.
— Historian Kevin Starr
Avoid existing models. There is too much fashion now in urban park design.
— Landscape architect Mark Francis
The current master plan calls for chopping up an already small space into a series of landscape clichés: the "great lawn," the "terrace," "civic plaza" and so on. The developers, after all, require no more than decorative settings to enhance the value of their buildings. The situation needs to be reversed: the landscape must become the institution here, not merely the setting for various "draws" and commercial enterprises.
— Landscape architect Ethan Carr

(Jason Evers, Daniel Lopez, Anthony Sponzilli and Andy Wilcox)
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