Taking a critical look at public space in Los Angeles
Walk with me! Here are the Youtube videos I made:
Ah Broadway! One of the first streets surveyed by the City of Los Angeles in 1849, Broadway came to develop as a prominent street that was considered the most important area in the city for theater. Home to what is now the Historic Theater District, Broadway is home to 12 movie palaces built from 1910 to about 1931. This was THE place to be in regards to movies/theater. Of course, decentralization occurred quickly with places like Hollywood opening the famed Grauman’s Egyptian Theater and Grauman’s Chinese theater in 1922 and 1927 respectively.
Nonetheless, I don’t think you’ll find such a concentration of movie palaces/theaters anywhere in the country. Let’s be thankful that damages/alterations/demolitions have been kept relatively minimal, especially with the exteriors. The vibrancy and activity is something that was lost long time ago:
So today, we’ll talk about the public experience while walking the sidewalks of Broadway from 2nd to 11th. We can analyze this experience using various measurements: safety, condition of sidewalks, cleanliness, aesthetics, function, and interaction of the built environment with pedestrians.
Broadway in this stretch fails almost completely. What Broadway does have, as alluded to earlier, is some very nice architecture. Here are two of my favorite buildings:
So what did I do? I walked from 2nd to 11th and back while recording my walk. You’ll get to see what the experience is like. As you’ll see the demographic appears to be mostly Latino. Stores in the areas are the “swapmeet” quality. The sidewalks are in a high level of distress. It’s not the most pleasant walk. Although the architecture is amazing, it’s mostly only seen while looking up. The street level appearance of many storefronts is very beat up. But, this should be changing soon and this is the exact reason why I chose 2nd to 11th, because as you can read all about if you follow this link:
Broadway is about to experience some SERIOUS changes:
Some changes include a push for higher end retail, reactivation of the theaters, hotels, streetcar (approved) and most importantly for this post a road diet.
A road diet? Broadway’s car traffic lanes will be reduced and sidewalk space will be increased. The hope is to make this a more pedestrian and aesthetically pleasing area while at the same time activating much needed businesses on Broadway.
Watch the videos, tell me what you think:
and part two
and part three
finally, part 4