Re-imagining Chinatown: An Interactive Planning Process

Re-imagining Chinatown: An Interactive Planning Process
James Rojas
August 8th - September 5th, 2009

Re-imagining Chinatown, James Rojas

On Saturday, August 8th, urban planner, James Rojas will unveil one of his interactive city models at Fifth Floor Gallery and invites the public to play and dream about the future of Chinatown.  The economic, social, and built environment of Chinatown is rapidly changing and the model will capture that energy through an interactive public participation process.

The 4x8 ft. model of Chinatown includes the Cornfields and portions of the LA River and will highlight the area’s topography, streets, and blocks. It is designed to inspire the minds of the participants through its grand interventions, vivid use of materials, colors, textures and by allowing the public to touch and imprint their vision on it.

Fifth Floor will become an impromptu urban planning “store” with shelves lining the wall that will host an array of small, colorful buildings. Visitors can take these buildings off the shelves and place them on the model located in the middle of the gallery to create their ideal urban form. The model will constantly change as the work builds upon the contributions of others.

This technique, conceived by Rojas, facilitates public participation in the urban planning process by using art as an interactive, creative medium to help people think about their community. The evolving exhibition mimics the dynamic and collective nature of life in Chinatown. These activities reflect how varied groups of players—strangers, neighbors, friends—interact to create a sense of place in Chinatown.

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