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Merit Award - ANALYSIS AND PLANNING

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Los Angeles Civic Center Shared Facilities and Enhancement Plan
Los Angeles, CA

Meléndrez Design Partners
 

Lauren Meléndrez, ASLA
President, Meléndrez Design Partners
617 South Olive Street, 11th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 213-673-4400;
Fax 213-673-4410
marketing@melendrez.com


Purpose

The Los Angeles Civic Center Authority re-convened in 1995 under leadership of the representatives of the local City Council and County Board of Supervisors to consider and discuss the appropriate role and future development of the Los Angeles Civic Center as the City entered the new millennium. One of the first actions of the Authority was to charge a public/private planning team with the creation of the "Los Angeles Civic Center Shared Facilities and Enhancement Plan" to guide urban development in the heart of the City for the next twenty years. The focus of the Plan was on sharing government facilities (at the City, County, State, and Federal levels), reducing costs and restoring the heart of the City as a full and active "civic" center, not just a government center.

In order to plan the future of the Civic Center, it was important to revisit its past for clues as to how best to make the area a more prosperous, hospitable and successful urban environment. The historic "quarters" of old Los Angeles were found to have new relevance. Each quarter, characterized by a distinctive topography and personality (Hillside, El Pueblo, New Town, and Riverbed), could be identified with the level of government that is currently housed there. Representatives of the Civic Center Authority reviewed all phases of the work. Their feedback was incorporated, as was input from public and private enterprise, Los Angeles residents and property owners, local organizations, and a focus group that was hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Roles of the Team

Lead Consultant Landscape Architect: Project Manager, Streetscape and Development Standards, Editor and Publisher of Plan and Project Presentations
Sub-consultants: Architect
#1 Land Use and Planning Architect
#2 Shared Facilities Programming Architect
#3 Street and Urban Design Concepts Economist Implementation Strategies

Special Factors

The Civic Center was re-defined as the "Ten-Minute Diamond," or the distance the average pedestrian can walk in ten minutes in any direction from City Hall. Open space becomes the single most important element within the "Ten-Minute Diamond," with the focus on the place and the space rather than the buildings.

The "Ten-Minute Diamond" is transformed to a public transit/pedestrian-oriented district from an auto orientation. The Plan builds on historic topographies and existing architecture and landscapes without requiring major reconstruction or reorganization of infrastructure. The collaboration of Federal, State, County and City governments and representatives of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metropolitan Water District and Los Angeles Unified School District on common development, planning, and land-use issues is extremely significant. Implementation strategies show how to channel existing and planned expenditures of over $3 billion, rather than requiring a massive allotment of capital for implementation. The Plan explains how all levels of government can concentrate their facilities within the "Ten-minute Diamond" to save money and enhance the environment. Opportunities are developed for shared facilities among levels of government which can provide substantial savings, a portion of which can then be reinvested in the public realm and the open space infrastructure.

Significance to the Profession

At the first presentation the co-chair of the Civic Center Authority said, "I thought this was a contract with a landscape architect -why aren't we talking about trees?" Through the process of developing this plan, she came to understand the comprehensive nature of what the landscape architectural profession can accomplish, as have all the participants in the process. Several elected officials at the Federal and State levels have been so impressed with the Plan and its implications for urban environmental quality and capital savings for government that they requested a private presentation, which was hosted by the Times Mirror Corporation and attended by Federal and State Senators, members of Congress, and Assembly members as well as local elected officials and business leaders. These presentations and contacts with elected officials and business leaders have given them a much better understanding of the role of the Landscape Architect in the development of our cities, and the Landscape Architect's skills in developing creative, sensible, and sustainable ideas which lead to consensus solutions.

 

 

 


2001 Award Winners
Press Release
 
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