Skip to Main Content

Placemaking in DTLA

Efforts to enhance and activate public space is not a new concept for Downtown LA. Spurred by growth in the residential community and increasing tourist visitation, along with evolving demand from office tenants, the City and various stakeholders have undertaken a wide range of placemaking projects. As a result, the past 20 years provide many examples and case studies of how even small improvements can have a big impact, while major investments can transform entire areas.

Grand Park

Opened in 2012, Grand Park has all four of the Project for Public Spaces “great place” qualities described earlier and has become a go-to destination for unique programming including concerts, wellness, art, and more. And on hot days in the summer, its water feature is a major draw for families.


LA State Historic Park

A 32-acre grassy open space extending out from Chinatown, at the north end of Downtown, LA State Historic Park is a brownfield investment located on a former rail station that has already helped spur a dynamic mix development in the surrounding area.

LA State Historic Park - Before
LA State Historic Park
LA State Historic Park

Pershing Square Renovation

Ground was recently broken on the first phase of the long-awaited renovation of Pershing Square, which is intended to open the space up by removing the existing perimeter walls and structures and replacing them with trees and green space, reconnecting the park to the surrounding neighborhood.

Pershing Square - Before
Pershing Square - After
Pershing Square
Pershing Square
Pershing Square
Pershing Square

POPS for People

One of the reasons POPS have so much potential is that they have both built-in user bases and committed stewards. Expansion of their purpose and programming is an opportunity for collaboration across groups of stakeholders and constituents.

Convergence of Uses - FIGat7th
A Better Path - Bunker Hill Steps
A Better Path - 444 South Flower
Urban Encounters - City National Plaza
Urban Encounters - Union Bank Plaza
Urban Retreat - Bank of America Plaza
Urban Retreat - 550 South Hope

Bunker Hill Campus

Two major recent renovations of POPS on Bunker Hill demonstrate the shifting priorities of property owners. In each case, purely decorative elements have been replaced with open and usable space.


Overhaul of ground floor amenity area enhanced and expanded the usable space.

The Yard

Removal of central water feature created more space for activities.

Activating the POPS

Beyond shifting designs, owners of POPS have embraced a core element of placemaking by bringing in a variety of different kinds of activations to engage and enliven.

Grand Performances at The Yard
The Music Center Plaza
Bank of America Farmers Market
Arts Brookfield at Wells Fargo Center