Grand Avenue Project
|This article is outdated. (June 2011)|
The Grand Avenue Project is a project currently under development designed to revive Downtown Los Angeles, similar to the L.A. Live project, around Grand Avenue and the Civic Center. The project would serve about 5.8 million people living around the project site. On February 14, 2007 both the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the project, and officials originally hoped to break ground in December 2007. On July 26, 2012, the Grand Park opened to the public as part of an initial phase of the project. 
The project's key public component is the Grand Park, a 16-acre (6.5 ha) park stretching between the development's two boundaries: City Hall and the Department of Water and Power building. The park was designed to be pedestrian friendly and connects Bunker Hill to the Civic Center. The park includes tree-shaded sidewalks, fountains, plenty of street lights, benches, and kiosks, to encourage the walking and exploration of the area, which was designed to encourage residents and visitors to enjoy a family-friendly green space in downtown Los Angeles, with musical events and other park activities staged at Grand Park.
While generally greeted with positive response, plans for the Grand Avenue Project raised concerns expressed by local citizens, community leaders, local business owners, academics and advocates for the homeless which are being incorporated into revised plans. Other local developments on Grand Avenue include the Broad Art Foundation now under construction. Grand Intervention, a project of the Norman Lear Center at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, has attempted to maximize public input into the design of the park. This project, begun with a call for ideas in a July 2005 Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times, resulted in more than 300 design submissions from across the city and around the world. Furthermore, when the park developer chose its design team, Grand Intervention invited them to view the best of the proposals. Since effective urban planning requires direct civic engagement by diverse and disparate communities, the Lear Center felt that new technology could extend the outreach process beyond the conventional town meeting model. In an effort to extend its public outreach on Los Angeles's new civic park, the Grand Avenue Committee and the developer, The Related Companies, endorsed Grand Intervention's online civic engagement efforts. The Lear Center has offered live and archived Webcasts of community park workshops, online transcriptions of the workshops and online digital resources of all materials distributed or displayed at the workshops.
Some business owners fear their businesses won't be able to compete with such a large, government-backed project and that many small downtown businesses will shut down. Backers assert that the project will attract more people to the downtown area and therefore boost local business.
"In Los Angeles, a Gehry-Designed Awakening" in The New York Times. April 18, 2007. (and correction on April 20, 2007)