PERSHING SQUARE: THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY

PSR_SW-1As Designers Prepare to Present Visions, Southwest Airlines “Heart of the Community” Grant Fuels Effort to Re-Imagine Park As Downtown’s Hub of Innovation, Connection

Los Angeles (April 13, 2016) – Today, Pershing Square Renew, Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) and Project for Public Spaces announced a joint initiative that will bring community-based placemaking efforts to Pershing Square, LA’s oldest and most revered public park. Located adjacent to Downtown LA’s Historic Core, Jewelry District, Bunker Hill and Civic Center the park covers an entire city block and hosts farmer’s markets, concerts, and an ice rink. A catalytic grant, valued at $200,000 including monetary and technical support, from the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program will support Pershing Square Renew, a public-private partnership initiated by Councilmember José Huizar, in its work to revitalize this key public space in the heart of Los Angeles. The grant will help bring the new Pershing Square to life now by involving a range of community partners in planning and activation—demonstrating the power of placemaking to connect people and strengthen communities.

The grant comes just days before the four finalists selected in an international design competition will present their long term visions for Pershing Square in a public event at the Downtown Palace Theater on April 28, 2016. For more information on the event, please see http://bit.ly/psrenew.

The Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community program focuses on placemaking, a movement that is revolutionizing cities around the world by boosting community participation in the creation, design, and unique programming of public spaces. Southwest Airlines believes that public spaces, whether neighborhood parks, small plazas, or downtown squares, are the true hearts of communities, as the places where people gather, connect, and enjoy each other and the cities they live in. The placemaking process highlights the capacity for underperforming spaces to achieve their greatest potential by becoming vibrant, authentic, functional, and well-loved places that will benefit the community socially, culturally, and economically for years to come.

By bringing community members and local organizations together around building a shared vision for the park, Pershing Square Renew will strengthen connections between people and the park. This is a core element of the placemaking approach — when many voices are included in the transformation of a public space it generates a greater sense of belonging and helps to create a place where everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

“Pershing Square is our city’s best opportunity to demonstrate the power of placemaking as a strategy for empowering our community,” said Eduardo Santana, Executive Director of Pershing Square Renew. “The Heart of the Community grant will help Pershing Square reclaim its rightful place as the city’s favorite gathering place.”

“One of the objectives my office has worked on in a rapidly growing Downtown Los Angeles is increased placemaking as a way to identify and promote our distinct Downtown communities and landmarks,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar. “Southwest Airlines’ support will help us achieve those goals at Pershing Square where we are reimagining and re-envisioning the City’s oldest park so that thousands upon thousands of Angelenos and visitors can rediscover this City of Los Angeles’ treasure.”

Pershing Square Renew awarded Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community Grant

Los Angeles is among five communities that are receiving similar grants today selected out of a highly competitive pool of more than 90 applicants, from 60 cities. Each year, Southwest brings placemaking to the cities they serve through the Heart of the Community program, highlighting the importance of “place” and encouraging communities to take part in the creation of the public places they love. For Southwest, placemaking is more than building great destinations, it is about strengthening local communities at their “heart.”

“At Southwest, we connect people to what’s important in their lives,” said Linda Rutherford, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at Southwest Airlines. “That commitment extends beyond the skies and into the hearts of our communities through our investment in public spaces. We recognize the power public spaces have to transform communities and are excited to support the efforts to reimagine Pershing Square in Los Angeles, a city we’ve been serving for 33 years.”

Pershing Square has seen multiple incarnations, the most recent an overhaul dating back to the early 1990s. In September 2015, Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar spurred the creation of Pershing Square Renew, a public-private partnership to overhaul and re-envision the five-acre park that emerged from the Councilmember’s broad vision for a revitalized Downtown LA. To learn more, please see http://pershingsquarenew.com.

Through its multi-year partnership with Project for Public Spaces, the nation’s pioneering placemaking organization, Southwest Airlines is leveraging the power of placemaking to spur social, economic, and wellness benefits in communities across the U.S. and abroad. With the addition of the five newly announced grant recipients, the program has supported 18 innovative and transformative projects.

Southwest Airlines logo

Project for Public Spaces logo

More at:

http://www.pps.org/heart-of-the-community/

http://www.blogsouthwest.com/our-five-new-heart-of-the-community-public-spaces/

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About Pershing Square Renew
Pershing Square Renew, Inc. is a non-profit public benefit corporation created to drive the re-design of Pershing Square, a five-acre urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Bounded by 5th Street to the north, 6th Street to the south, Hill Street to the east, and Olive Street to the west, Pershing Square has been a popular gathering place since 1866. The effort to re-envision historic Pershing Square is led by Councilmember José Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks, MacFarlane Partners, and other Downtown leaders. In Sept. 2015, an international design competition was launched. For more information, visit: www.pershingsquarenew.com

About Councilmember José Huizar
Councilmember Huizar is a staunch advocate for the DTLA community, ushering in billions of dollars of investment to the area, creating initiatives like Bringing Back Broadway and DTLA Forward, and partnering with the County to create C-3, which builds off the success of homeless outreach Huizar has led to assist homeless individuals in Skid Row. He helped bring hundreds of acres of open space, new parks and park upgrades to park-poor areas of his district and is one of the City’s leading “Complete Streets” proponents, helping usher in Mobility 2035, DTLA Bikeshare and groundbreaking pedestrian and bike-friendly policies that are seen as the model for the entire City.

About Southwest Airlines Co.
In its 45th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 49,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest proudly operates a network of 97 destinations across the United States and seven additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season.
Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity. That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as more than 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest created Transfarency℠, a philosophy which treats Customers honestly and fairly, and in which low fares actually stay low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some airlines may allow free checked bags on select routes or for qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply. In 2014, the airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. The new aircraft livery, airport experience, and logo, showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees to connect Customers with what’s important in their lives.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic whenever the carrier enters new markets. With 43 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2014 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at SouthwestOneReport.com.

Book Southwest Airlines’ low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.

Media Contacts:
Visit the Southwest Newsroom at swamedia.com for multi-media assets and other Company news
Media Relations Team: 214-792-4847, option 1

About Project for Public Spaces
Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Its pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. PPS was founded in 1975 to apply and expand on the work of William (Holly) Whyte, the author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Since then, the organization has completed projects in over 3000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 US states and are the premier center for best practices, information and resources on Placemaking.

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Pershing Square Renew Announces Final Four Design Finalists

With reputations built around the corner and around the globe, four firms offer competing, compelling visions for a revitalized heart of Downtown LA

The international competition to re-imagine a 150-year-old public park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles moved a step closer to reality with the announcement of the four final design teams.

“The world-class firm selected by our jury represent a huge range,” said Eduardo Santana, Executive Director of Pershing Square Renew. “They include global stars and local unknowns. They’ve built towers and landscapes and many creations in between. But they all had one thing in common—they didn’t just make us want to see more from them, they inspired us to imagine more for Pershing Square.”

“As our exceptionally talented design teams are narrowed down to these four, Pershing Square is one step closer to once again becoming the focal point of life, commerce and civic engagement in Downtown Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, whose 14th District includes the park, and who spearheaded the formation of Pershing Square Renew and the design competition. “This design competition has allowed hundreds of the most creative architectural and design experts in the world to focus their attention on the City’s oldest park. DTLA and the City of Los Angeles will be the beneficiaries of that consideration, and I cannot wait to see what our four finalists have in store for us.”

The four finalists are:

The “Local Force”: SWA with Morphosis. Both of these firms are based in Downtown LA and well represented throughout Southern California, as well as nationally and internationally. See their proposal.

The “Landscape Starchitect”: James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners. New York’s James Corner is responsible for Manhattan’s High Line, arguably the greatest new public park of the millennium, as well as Santa Monica’s Tongva Park. See their proposal.

The “Globetrotters”: Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects. Paris-based Agence TER’s landscapes dot Europe and have reached the Middle East and French Guyana. See their proposal.

The “Wild Card”: wHY with Civitas. Located in Culver City, relative newcomers wHY, partnered with Denver’s well-known Civitas Landscape Architecture group, offered a creative approach that intrigued the jury at every level of the competition. See their proposal.

“This jury was blown away by the amount of talent and insight that all ten competitors brought to the table,” said Janet Marie Smith, Senior Vice President for Planning and Development of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the chair of the Pershing Square Renew design competition’s jury. “In the end, there was a strong consensus that these four competitors were going to take Pershing Square — the heart of Downtown LA — in exciting directions we hadn’t anticipated.”

Pershing Square, the public park that covers an entire city block adjacent to LA’s Historic Core, Jewelry District, Bunker Hill and Civic Center, as well as a major transit station, has seen multiple incarnations, the most recent an overhaul dating back to the early 1990’s. In September of this year, Councilmember Huizar spurred the creation of Pershing Square Renew, a public-private partnership to overhaul and re-envision the five-acre park that emerged from the Councilmember’s broad vision for a revitalized Downtown LA.

The four finalists will develop their proposals over the first quarter of 2016, leading to another round of jury interviews and a public presentation in March. The final selection process will invite public comment on each of the proposals and will weigh public opinion in the final decision.

The Pershing Square Renew jury consists of:

  • Janet Marie Smith (Jury Chair), SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • José Huizar, Councilmember, 14th District, City of Los Angeles
  • Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA
  • Simon Ha, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Downtown LA Resident
  • Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group
  • Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ
  • Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio
  • Michael Shull, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks,
  • Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design

“Pershing Square Renew has been so lucky to draw on the creativity and care of its partners and jury members,” said Jeff Berris, Board President for Pershing Square Renew and development executive for MacFarlane Partners. “The stakeholders who have been part of this effort include Downtown residents, business and property owners, design and architectural experts, and government representatives. And everyone of them is excited by what a renewed Pershing Square could be.”

Articles about Pershing Square Renew:

Los Angeles Times,
Newsletter: Essential California: SpaceX and the future of space travel (includes blurb on Pershing Square & link to Curbed),
by Alice Walton, Dec. 23

KCRW (DNA),
The Metropolis Considered”,
by Frances Anderton, Dec. 22

Dezeen,
Four finalists announced for revamp of Pershing Square in Downtown LA,”
by Jenna McKnight, Dec. 22

KCET,
Finalists Announced in Pershing Square ‘Vision’ Competition,”
by D.J. Waldie, Dec. 22

KPCC,
4 Finalists Selected for Pershing Square Redesign,”
by KPCC staff, Dec. 22

Los Angeles Business Journal,
Four Finalists Named for Pershing Square Facelift,”
by Howard Fine, Dec. 22

Los Angeles Magazine,
Slide Show: Four Finalists Selected for the Redesign of Pershing Square,”
by Chris Nichols, Dec. 22

Planetizen,
Los Angeles to Redesign Its ‘Worst Public Space’,”
by Philip Rojc, Dec. 22

Streetsblog LA,
Today’s Headlines,” (includes blurb & link to Curbed & KPCC stories)
by Joe Linton, Dec. 22

Archinect,
Pershing Square Renew competition narrows down to four finalist teams,”
by Justine Testado, Dec. 21

Architects Newspaper,
Four Finalists Selected to Redesign Pershing Square in Los Angeles,”
by Mimi Zeiger, Dec. 21

Curbed LA,
Here Are the Four Teams That Will Compete to Redesign Downtown LA’s Hated Pershing Square,”
by Bianca Barragan, Dec. 21

Downtown News,
Four Finalists in Pershing Square Redesign Competition
by Jon Regardie, Dec. 21

LAist,
One Of These Four Teams Will Revamp Pershing Square,”
by Juliet Bennett Ryah, Dec. 21

LAObserved.com,
Finalists named for Pershing Square makeover,”
by Kevin Roderick, Dec. 21

LAObserved on KCRW,
Finalists Announced for Pershing Square Redesign,”
by Kevin Roderick
(audio), Dec. 21

Los Angeles Times,
Arts & Culture Roundup: Obama chooses short list of library architects, U.S. releases art to Iran, Jeff Koons sued (includes blurb on Pershing Square),
by Carolina Miranda, Dec. 21

MyNewsLA.com,
Field narrows to 4 competing to redesign DTLA’s Pershing Square,”
by Debbie Sklar, Dec. 21

CityLab,
Rethinking DTLA by Revising Pershing Square

by Kriston Capps Jan. 7

– LA Times,
Two Downtown L.A. Parks and the tricky task of designing them to best serve the city

by Christopher Hawthorne, Feb. 25

For Immediate Release: Pershing Square Renew launches design competition

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NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACTS:       

Pershing Square Renew: Spencer Moore (415) 317-7100, smoore@chasepr.com

Councilmember Huizar: Rick Coca (213) 200-9974, rick.coca@lacity.org 

Pershing Square Renew launches design competition

Pershing Square Renew receives City approval for public/private partnership, launches international design competition to re-envision urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles 

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 2, 2015) – A day after the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support Councilmember José Huizar’s legislation to form a public/private partnership to overhaul and renew DTLA’s Pershing Square, that partnership – Pershing Square Renew – announced plans for an international design competition to re-envision the five-acre urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council authorized Pershing Square Renew to develop a new design concept and provide fundraising and project management for the renovation of Pershing Square. Pershing Square Renew grew out of a task force Councilmember Huizar formed after redistricting placed the historic square in his district in 2012.

“Through our collective efforts, Pershing Square will truly be renewed and once again affirm its standing as the preeminent public space in Downtown Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar, who has led the charge for the square’s renovation. “When it’s completed in 2020, Pershing Square will be a platform for civic engagement, a place of rest, play and leisure for residents, local community stakeholders, and visitors alike. This public space will regain the same excitement, energy and reverence our forefathers experienced nearly 150 years ago when they deemed it a park in perpetuity. With Downtown on the rise once again, one of its most treasured public spaces deserves its moment to be uplifted. Pershing Square Renew offers us the chance to do just that.”

The Pershing Square Design Competition will take place over the next six months. In November, 10 “semi-finalists” will be chosen and asked to present their qualifications and preliminary design concepts to a multi-disciplinary jury in Los Angeles. In December, four finalists will be selected. In February 2016, the finalists will present to the jury in Los Angeles, with a winner announced later that month.

“We’re excited to have a formal agreement with the City that empowers us to fulfill on our mission to ensure that Pershing Square is an authentic reflection of Downtown L.A.’s thriving renaissance by creating a world-class public space for everyone,” said Eduardo Santana, executive director of Pershing Square Renew. “Qualified design teams are invited from near and far to join us in discovering a new vision for our central square that will enamor the people of Downtown and become an inspiring symbol for our entire City.”

Located in the heart of Downtown L.A. – at the intersection of the Financial District, and the Historic Core — Pershing Square is the City of Los Angeles’ oldest park, dedicated in 1866 by Mayor Cristobal Aguilar as “La Plaza Abaja” (“the Lower Plaza”). Pershing Square has been redesigned and renamed multiple times since its inception — the major redesigns occurred in the 1950s and early 1990s.

The initiative to overhaul and improve Pershing Square can be credited to larger revitalization efforts all around Downtown, including Huizar’s “Bringing Back Broadway” effort, which started seven years ago, and led to a rash of revitalization along the corridor that has attracted the likes of Ace Hotel, Urban Outfitters, Acne Studios, Umami Burger and a revitalized Grand Central Market.

In the summer of 2013, Councilmember Huizar announced a task force of 21 Downtown stakeholders to spearhead the effort to re-imagine Pershing Square to match the broad transformation of the Downtown area. The group included Downtown residents, design and architectural experts, business representatives and property owners, and was guided by representatives from governmental agencies like the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, LAPD and the City’s Planning Department.

In August 2014, the task force evolved into a newly created entity, Pershing Square Renew, which worked with the Department of Recreation and Parks, and Project for Public Spaces (out of New York), to conduct intensive community outreach and engagement around an effort to re-imagine the square. Meanwhile, MacFarlane Partners, the developer of a 99,000 square-foot site at 5th and Olive Streets overlooking Pershing Square, announced a $1 million pledge to seed Pershing Square Renew, and more developers plan to contribute to the effort. Additionally, the Department of Recreation and Parks announced that $1 million would go towards the park in the immediate future for infrastructure improvements and amenities. The department is a key partner for Pershing Square Renew and the local Council office.

“The renewal of Pershing Square is something the Department has diligently been aiming towards,” said Michael A. Shull, general manager, Department of Recreation and Park. “We are very excited to be working with Councilman José Huizar, 14th District, and Pershing Square Renew, and look forward to this historical park becoming the ‘living room’ of this booming residential and business community.”

Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, and a member of the original task force, is serving as Pershing Square Renew’s design advisor through these preliminary phases. Gensler will not submit a proposal.

“The launch of the Pershing Square Renew competition is a once in a lifetime opportunity for design teams, both local and global, to participate in the reimagining of a Los Angeles icon,“ said Rob Jernigan, regional managing director, Gensler. “This park is catalytic to the renaissance of Downtown Los Angeles, which is all about converting a downtown focused on work to a downtown that is in balance with live, work and play. Greenspace is a critical element for live and play to flourish.”

The competition process is a three-stage procedure. Phase I begins with an open invitation to all interested design teams to submit an overview of their team, its qualifications, and a portfolio that demonstrates the quality of its work. From these submittals, Pershing Square Renew will invite 10 to 12 teams to move on to Phase II. During this phase, the invited design teams will be asked to prepare a vision idea for Pershing Square to demonstrate their understanding of project aspirations and their innovative approach in creating the desired experience.

Teams are to submit more detailed information about the organization of the team, the individuals that comprise it, and its design approach and philosophy. Each team will be invited to an interview with the selection committee. From these submittals and interviews, Pershing Square Renew will select and invite four design teams to submit designs for Pershing Square. The design teams that participate in Phase III will be paid a stipend for their work.

The submittals will be evaluated by a team of advisors who will provide input to the Board of Directors of Pershing Square Renew and assist and advise them at each of the stages of the evaluation and selection process. The decisions about which design teams will be selected at each step in the process will be made by the Board of Directors of Pershing Square Renew.

For more detailed information about the design competition, visit www.pershingsquarenew.com/competition

About Pershing Square Renew
Pershing Square Renew, Inc. is a non-profit public benefit corporation created to drive the re-design of Pershing Square, a five-acre urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Bounded by 5th Street to the north, 6th Street to the south, Hill Street to the east, and Olive Street to the west, Pershing Square has been a popular gathering place since 1866. The effort to re-envision historic Pershing Square is led by Councilmember José Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks, MacFarlane Partners, and other Downtown leaders. In Sept. 2015, an international design competition was launched. For more information, visit: www.pershingsquarenew.com

About Councilmember José Huizar
Councilmember Huizar is a staunch advocate for the DTLA community, ushering in billions of dollars of investment to the area, creating initiatives like Bringing Back Broadway and DTLA Forward, and partnering with the County to create C-3, which builds off the success of homeless outreach Huizar has led to assist homeless individuals in Skid Row. He helped bring hundreds of acres of open space, new parks and park upgrades to park-poor areas of his district and is one of the City’s leading “Complete Streets” proponents, helping usher in Mobility 2035, DTLA Bikeshare and groundbreaking pedestrian and bike-friendly policies that are seen as the model for the entire City.

About MacFarlane Partners
MacFarlane Partners is a real estate development and investment management firm with approximately $4 billion in assets managed on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions. Founded in 1987, the firm pioneered the urban investment concept among institutional real estate investment managers in the 1990s and today is a leading investor and developer of properties that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability in urban and high-density suburban areas nationwide. MacFarlane Partners is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at www.macfarlanepartners.com

About Gensler
Gensler is a global design firm grounded in the belief that great design optimizes business performance and human potential. The firm’s 4,900 practitioners networked across 46 offices use global perspective and local presence to innovate at every scale. Whether refreshing a retailer’s brand, planning a new urban district or designing a super tall building, Gensler strives to make the everyday places people occupy more inspiring, more resilient, and more impactful. For more information, please visit www.gensler.com

Help influence the future of Pershing Square, Downtown’s most historic public space.

Pershing Square Renew invites the Downtown Los Angeles community to participate in the first of our pop-up workshops, which will be held on April 24th at Pershing Square, (near the food trucks) and April 25th at Grand Park, (near the fountain). Facilitated by Project for Public Spaces, these on-the-street workshops will give you an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas for Pershing Square in a fun and interactive way.

Visit our Facebook page for more information and to RSVP.

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