The goal of Gensler’s research project is to create an active, participatory design process. A process that loosens the gridlock from countless stakeholders, and naturally competing interests providing instantaneous, visual feedback to gauge success and garner unilateral support.
At stake is the prospective creation of a true public space with all the socio-cultural rewards that accompany a well used town square. Understanding the neglected conditions of the once iconic public heart of Los Angeles, we were compelled to use Pershing Square as a testing ground, as a case study and a real world challenge to apply our newly developed toolkit.
At the center of Los Angeles, in the very midst of a downtown urban revival, Pershing Square stands witness to ongoing contests between the new versus the old; progress versus tradition; market stalls versus the stock market, the programmed versus the informal. Pershing Square is a space in flux, and its introverted indeterminacy is no longer good enough. It is a place that must rediscover and recreate its identity as an important public space in a maturing urban core.
No single agenda should dominate the formation of such an important public space.
Our research led us to a technological process that carries the ideas and interests of all competing interests, yet presents itself as neutral and dispassionate. We applied computational scripts to compile, arrange and present the quantitative input of all kinds of users. The computer is the synthesizer of countless analytical inputs and author of dozens of unique schemes, each infused with the aspirations of the stakeholders. This process does not require that any one of the stakeholders defend their own work or attack the work of another. We’ve created a tool that encourages opposing parties to coalesce and find commonality around an unbiased scheme, the kernel of a plan, the start of a place.