INGLEWOOD LIVING CITY
Inglewood, ca - 2010
A truly visionary city requires a reframing in the form of a Polycultural Ecology rooted in the concept of bio-diversity and the benefits of shared systems and environmental exchange through diverse overlapping, interconnectivity and the interchange of cross benefiting conditions.
Cross-pollination is a term we use to explain our approach to urban design focused on developing the idea of diversity as a tool for sustainable progress. By addressing the unique and often underutilized spatial conditions within the city (e.g.: awkward areas between transit, civic, commercial, and residential zones), we are able to focus on the intermixing of systems, buildings, neighborhoods and communities rather than the traditional development of individual uses. By sharing individual benefits with each other, a stronger overall living condition emerges and a human ecology, driven by the cross-pollination of co-dependent public and private space, is established.
The City of Inglewood California is a mid-sized city (diverse population of approx. 112,000, Transect L-5) located within the Los Angeles basin approximately 5 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. The city lacks a strong positive regional identity and currently has an underutilized and under celebrated historic downtown commercial street. There is a large vacant unused parcel of land (approx. 4.2 acres) at the north end of the downtown commercial district, as well as a large park with natural spring water (currently buried) and forgotten historical significance directly to the northeast.
To focus on the development of a new environmentally innovative north end hub along the downtown commercial district, providing regional identity, cultural and commercial mixed-uses and transportation links, as a catalyst for future environmentally aligned development of the city at large.
To develop an environmentally focused city, linking numerous transportation opportunities, a new civic public plaza space and a new entry into the downtown district through the creation of a Spatial Ecology. A network of publicly linked spaces that tie into existing pedestrian spatial patterns and at the same time, expand to the larger city whole, linking outlying underutilized opportunities such as Centinela Park and the existing Market Street Commercial corridor. Within the Ecology itself, a new approach to public space will be implemented that re-envisions how property and infrastructure is controlled, restricted, shared and accessed.
These new property rights, zoning and shared system conditions will allow for both the horizontal as well as vertical segregation of property to be renegotiated to create a city where previously restricted or undesirable areas (private roof tops, alley ways, side yards, etc.) will become opportunities for shared infrastructure as well as cultural event spaces to form. Areas such as Centinela Park, with its buried natural springs will be unearthed and reinstated into the public’s visual domain providing a natural source of drinking water along pedestrian trails. Waste collection, compaction and recycling will occur within the various neighborhoods at local Ecology Stations, scattered throughout the city, creating forums for environmental education and exchange. The new civic plaza will be shaded in an orchard of artistically shaped windmills, warped in a black solar collector skin with limbs that house LED lighting for evening plaza events. Roof tops of new and existing structures will become water collection points, solar panel farms and provide the opportunity for local urban agriculture. To access many of these previously inaccessible spaces a new set of Vertical Garden Towers (VGT) will be distributed throughout the city ecology. These VGT’s will be open air vertically accessible public park spaces with vertical air and light shafts (lanterns at night) into lower level substructure spaces and contain natural vegetation, each tower being marked by a tree top.
Overall, a new approach to building, infrastructure and urban space programming will be implemented that focuses on the concept of cross-pollination. Looking beyond mixed-use zoning it attempts to co-mingle uses into direct contact fostering creative participation such as a Children’s Day School coupled within a Senior Center, a local restaurant with roof top agricultural or a Women’s Homeless Shelter set within a Performing Arts Center. Through a process of cross-pollination a new urban condition will arise that creates a poly-culture of building and planning, where what appear to be differing uses will come into contact creating a network or ecology of participatory enhancing diversity.