Posted in LAM MAGAZINE, PLANNING, STUDENTS, UNIVERSITY, tagged 2035 Downtown Master Plan, African-American, analysis, ASLA, charrette, church, Claytee White, community, downtown, Downtown Project, graduate, HUNDRED Plan for the Historic Westside Community, Las Vegas, Latin American, middle class, mosque, Nate Berg, neighnborhood, regeneration, rezone, segregation, Southwick Landscape Architects, Stanton Southwick, Steven Clarke, study, undergraduate, University of Nevada Las Vegas, UNLV Downtown Design Center, UNLV Oral History Research Center, Westside on August 11, 2016|
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BY NATE BERG
As Las Vegas’s historic Westside faces change, residents ask, who benefits?
At the start of a three-day design charrette in a small Las Vegas community center, one of the first questions Steven Clarke, ASLA, asked the 100-person crowd was how many had participated in a design charrette before. “About 80 percent of them raised their hands,” says Clarke, a fair-haired 45-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who was new to this group of people, many of whom weren’t particularly happy to be doing another charrette. The purpose of the current exercise was to focus on the historic Westside neighborhood of Las Vegas, which has been a marginalized African American neighborhood since the early 20th century. Many of the community members who had gathered wanted to know what would be different this time around, Clarke says. The skepticism quickly boiled into anger. Some demanded to know how the charrette process would do anything to create jobs in the neighborhood. Others demanded to know how much Clarke was being paid, and by whom. “It got extremely tense,” he says. “It was probably the most challenging charrette I’ve faced in my career.”
The Westside was once the healthy heart of the city’s African American community. Today the area is largely vacant, a wasteland of urban disinvestment. The neighborhood’s blocks hold more than 200 empty lots and dozens of abandoned buildings and burned-out houses. The main commercial strip is a ghost town. Its few businesses—a minimarket, a barbecue joint, a clothing shop—are modest, and foot traffic is all but nonexistent. Down a side street, residents of an apartment building are hosting what looks like a regular sidewalk sale of old vacuum cleaners and electronics. A few blocks away, a middle-aged sex worker sits on a curb and halfheartedly propositions the few cars that drive past.
Just on the other side of intersecting freeways, less than half a mile away, is (more…)
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Posted in CITIES, COMPETITIONS, LAM MAGAZINE, tagged Agence TER, Bryant Park, Civitas, Donald Spivack, downtown, Eduardo Santana, FASLA, Frederick Fisher and Partners, James Corner Field Operations, José Huizar, Laurie Olin, Los Angeles, Lucinda Sanders, MacFarlane Partners, Morphosis, OLIN, Pershing Square, Pershing Square Renew, Pershing Square Restoration Society, Ricardo Legorreta, Richard Schave, SALT Landscape Architects, SWA Group, wHY on June 9, 2016|
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BY NATE BERG
Agence Ter has won a bake-off to redesign Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles for the fifth or sixth time. Or is it the seventh?
On a warm May weekday morning, Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles was, as usual, a bit of a hybrid wasteland. Office workers crossed through as homeless people sprawled across concrete benches. Half the park was closed off for a row of plywood vendor booths related to an upcoming event. A father and son played alone in one of the park’s newly built playgrounds. People walking dogs veered toward the small patches of dirt that break up the park’s vast expanse of sun-baked concrete.
In the middle of the park, under a sheet of black fabric, stood the park’s potential future, a product of an eight-month international design competition. The winning design, unveiled for a crowd of about 75 people, reimagines the park as a wide-open public plaza, with large grassy areas, plentiful shade trees, and a large constructed canopy stretching the entire length of the space. It would be “a timeless design able to grow with a changing community and city,” Henri Bava, a founder of the Paris-based lead of the winning team, Agence Ter, told the crowd. “We will make sure that Pershing Square will become, once again, the dynamic heart of Los Angeles.”
History alone would seem to dictate that Pershing Square is due for a demolition. It’s a predictable cycle for the once and perhaps future (more…)
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Posted in ASLA, AWARDS, BROWNFIELDS, CITIES, HISTORY, LAM ONLINE, PARKS, PEOPLE, WATER, tagged 10, anniversary, Arnold Park, City Park, Crescent Park, Design Workshop, downtown, green space, Hurricane Katrina, Jazz in the Park, Lafitte Greenway, LAMcast, Louisiana, New Orleans, recovery, revitalization on August 31, 2015|
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This season marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and the city of New Orleans finds there is still a long way to go to fully heal. But there are a lot of great revitalization stories, including those involving the beloved green spaces at the heart of the city, old and new. This three-minute video highlights four of these spaces, including the 2013 ASLA award-winning Lafitte Greenway by Design Workshop, which connects City Park to downtown, and Arnold Park, which plays host to Jazz in the Park, a free, weekly concert from September to October.
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