Mike Davis

Building Type: Long road to the Arts District's first park

Building Type: Long road to the Arts District's first park

Sometimes a civilian moment — seeing a new building or park exactly as the public sees it, without the benefit of press releases or a guided tour — can be a good thing for an architecture critic.

This is the story of one of those moments. It’s also the story of how Los Angeles, after decades of largely ignoring its civic realm, is struggling to relearn the art of designing public space.

It begins one afternoon several weeks ago, when I had some time to kill after putting in a takeout order at the Chairman, a newish bao place in the Arts District. I wandered over to check out the progress of the small city park next door, at the corner of 5th and Hewitt...

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