(Longtime readers will remember that Streetsblog has covered many of James Rojas’ efforts to explain planning and get people to use their imagination when thinking about the future of transportation. In the past, we’ve covered a fraction of Rojas’ interactive planning workshops "Pushing Planning Boundaries in Santa Monica," "A Future without Cars,"and "the Interactive Downtown Workshop." Below is Rojas’ coverage of the opening of the Re-Imagining Chinatown Exhibit opening from this last weekend and above is a video made of the opening. The entire exhibit will be on display until September 5 at the Fifth Floor Gallery.)
Saturday night was a flurry of urban interventions in Chinatown as local residents, artist, curators, urban planners, children, and the general public participated in the Re-Imagining Chinatown art opening/community visioning meeting. The Fifth Floor become an impromptu urban planning "store" with shelves lining the wall that hosted an array of small, colorful buildings made from recycled objects.
Visitors took these buildings off the shelves and placed them on an interactive map/model of Chinatown, the Cornfields, Elysian Park, and parts of the LA River, located in the middle of the gallery. From a disco city on the LA River to a large bridge that connected Cornfields to North Broadway the ideas were everything from whimsical to serious; this process forced participants to think creatively and playfully. Children as well as adults shared there urban interventions for the area.
The map/model helped participants express and share their ideas and visions for this area. The model constantly changed through out the night as the work builds upon the contributions of others.