play Winner / 2015

A shady oasis for everyone in Grand Park

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County AKA The Music Center/Grand Park

Our proposal supports the design/installation of shade structures in highly trafficked central gathering spaces for park events & weekly food truck events (22K DTLA residents & employees a year). Visitors consistently request additional shade particularly for our most vulnerable visitors; children and elders. Adding shade areas will increase capacity and enhance the comfort of the 1MM people who access Grand Park annually to play, enjoy quiet green spaces and attend free events in downtown LA.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project

How will your proposal improve the following “Play” metrics?

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Per capita crime rates
  • Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to play.

Grand Park is the most popular green space in DTLA to play (1MM visitors per year) and is the first and only-large scale public park in DTLA that combines opportunities for multi-generational play with community well-being through hundreds of culturally diverse and free programs hosted in the park since our opening in 2012. Grand Park is dedicated to creating a safe and enjoyable space for everyone with family-oriented, no-alcohol large-scale events (4th of July, Día de los Muertos, New Year’s Eve) with no major incidents or arrests among crowds as large as 45K people. With 24/7 security, well maintained clean toilets, ample drinking water, a splash-pad for adult and child water play, food and beverage choices, the park is dedicated to offering a safe, clean and comfortable place for LA to play. Grand Park also features a children’s playground specifically designed to stimulate social, motor and cognitive skills through play. Providing children safe places to play is critical in their development and future success. The current lack of permanent shade structures, however, limits the use of some areas of the park. Creating more shade will increase the use of the park; provide UV protection, spaces for performances and exhibitions, and more activities for children and elders. With 2.6MM+ Angelinos living more than 1/4 mile from a park and Latino, African American and Asian Americans less likely to live near parks, Grand Park provides critical access to the 31K residents (US Census) (71% non-white) 500K employees and 10MM tourists that live/work in and visit DTLA. A growing body of research from UCLA, the CDC and the Surgeon General supports a direct correlation between access to parks and physical activity (play) with important psychological and social health benefits: relieves symptoms of depression/anxiety, improves mood and enhances psychological well-being. Parks, gardens and other natural places such as Grand Park make for more livable communities, opportunities for recreation, exercise, stronger social ties and a sense of community and increase social capital bringing diverse communities together to share experiences. Grand Park is a work in progress, constantly responding to the needs of our public, reflected in the evolution of public programs that build on each prior event and improvements made to the physical infrastructure to accommodate the growing audiences that have identified Grand Park as their favorite place to gather and play.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Grand Park has established a vigorous network, via social media, with park-goers, nearby communities and programming partners. We rely on their constant input to evaluate our programs and services year round and will conduct outreach to survey their response to the new shade structure. We will also evaluate changes (+/-) in park attendance during and after the installation, using prior year data as a control.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research