One of the hottest districts in Downtown LA just got another little “urban boost” today. Within all the frenetic construction activity happening throughout South Park, the immediate neighborhood surrounding 11th and Hope has organically developed to become the center of the growing residential community, and today marked another great milestone with the opening of a brand new parklet installed by the South Park BID.
As the name would suggest, a “parklet” is a miniature version of a community gathering spot, and what better location to put one in South Park than along Hope Street in front of a slew of new businesses helping to support the continuation of that critical economic growth. And it may not be very big, but its installation today is symbolic of a growing community that demands a more sophisticated urban neighborhood.
The new parklet — a project made possible by a public-private collaboration of 15 different sponsors and partners including the LADOT, South Park BID, and developer Mack Urban — replaced about two parking spaces with a new slice of public space that encourages people to linger (outside their cars) and interact more creatively with the urban landscape. I always see parklets as an optimistic sign that the underlying community does, in fact, value pedestrians.
Designed by two downtown firms, SODA Architects and Mia Lehrer & Associates, the modern looking parklet features a variety of seating (tables and chairs, benches sourced from sustainable wood), locally-fabricated metals, and drought-tolerant succulent plants. In addition, the South Park BID’s characteristic green color is used to accent the parklet’s metal features.
By 2018, South Park’s residential population is expected to increase to about 19,000. As that number continues to rise, the district will continue to evolve with hopefully pedestrians and bicyclists as the number one priority. Some other exciting projects are in store for the immediate area surrounding 11th and Hope including the upcoming MyFigueroa project, which will give 11th Street a road diet, as well as another exciting pedestrian enhancing feature along Hope Street.
This is Downtown LA’s third parklet with two others installed on Spring Street in early 2013.