This project will serve as a destination for people from all parts of the city and from all backgrounds to have shared civic experiences. This project thanks civic leaders and past architects for their highly formal contributions to Washington Street, but also looks to create the next precedent for an alternative. As this area is often viewed as a hub for the middle class and wealthy, the project is an explicit and implicit invitation to working class residents to redefine Washington Street.
It also presents an urban plaza that is flexible, reconfigurable, playful, multiple, and open. A moveable table that adapts to diverse programming, this project creates a sense of inclusivity to all residents and provides a place for social and cultural togetherness. The project will also host a calendar of delightful programming hosted by Columbus community organizations that will bring Washington Street to life with a bold spirit of inclusivity. Residents are encouraged to reconfigure the space and define for Columbus the potential of its urban programming.
LA-Más is a non-profit urban design organization, led by co-executive directors Elizabeth Timme and Helen Leung, that helps lower-income and underserved communities shape their own growth. Based in Los Angeles, LA-Más creates projects that are alternative models for development in neighborhoods that have been historically disinvested in and shut out of formal planning initiatives. Their approach achieves lasting local impact even with small-scale projects like redesigning family-owned local businesses. Timme’s training in architecture and design and Leung’s background in public policy and planning allow LA-Más to engage thoughtfully with the communities they serve. Faced with LA’s housing shortage, LA-Más has not only designed the city's pilot project on accessory dwelling units, but also advocated for more backyard homes and is creating a new resident-led affordable housing program using the Section 8 program. LA-Más just unveiled “Welcome to Western,” a public realm enhancement project that engaged pedestrians, community members, and small businesses along Western Ave in a year-long community-driven design process.