Northeast Los Angeles Placemaking Competition: Wayfinding System


Project submitted by studio Performativo

Project designed for entire NELA area

Project Summary and Scale

This "NELA-wide" wayfinding project proposes to enhance the visibility, mobility, and programmatic activities of the NELA riverfront by developing and implementing a shared identity for the NELA LA Riverfront. Our "Find-Your-Way" placemaking modules reinforce the uniqueness of each of the five neighborhoods and simultaneously create this shared identity for NELA through signage, furniture, sculptures, and other wayfinding strategies.

Why are you committed to this project?

We are committed to creating spaces that bring people together, not as tourists, but as community members engaged in their built environment. Our planning process demands engaging in community-wide conversations that takes into consideration the challenges and obstacles unique to each neighborhood and asks them to strive towards greater connectivity.

What are the most relevant characteristics of project site and scale?

As the NELA LA River front becomes more and more popular and becomes a destination place for Angelinos and tourists, the challenge will be, as it is now, to create connectivity between the five neighborhoods, while at the same time "branding" the NELA riverfront as a whole. This is especially difficult because each neighborhood have different levels of accessibility and connectivity to the riverfront and to each other.

Describe how this project will reinforce a sense of place or enhance the built environment.

The "Find-Your-Way" placemaking modules have flexible designs that can be implemented across three scales: pedestrian/bicyclist, vehicular, and area-wide.

For instance, as signage, our "Find-Your-Way" modules will add-color and flare to the experience of those walking or bicycling along the riverfront. They are designed to create memorable imprints of the entry-points, cultural and natural landmarks, programmatic events, and exit points into the other NELA neighborhoods.

We believe that this will activate people's imagination of what other connections exist within and outside of the LA River: "what new experience there may be, if I continue to find my way through NELA."


Provide a description of the project's necessary planning activities.

The following outlines our Community Planning Process

· Neighborhood Meetings--To introduce "Find-You-Way" modules, identify wayfinding needs and strategies, identify stakeholders, and resources.

· Community Design Meetings--To develop the functional capacity of the "Find-Your-Way" modules (Does a neighborhood need bike racks? Signage? Trash receptacles? A sculpture? How would these look like? Where would they be located?).

· NELA-wide Meetings--To present on each neighborhood's projects and engage in a conversation about each others challenges, obstacles, and resources.

· Implementation

What is a rough estimate of your project budget?

The budget is content and context dependent. We estimate one (1) 18" x 18" box frame of aluminum tube and connectors to cost approximately $50.00 - $100.00. But the material and amount will vary depending on the resources and contributions of each neighborhood.

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How does this project leverage existing resources and efforts?

Since this project is intended to enhance and promote neighborhood connectivity, the community planning process is key to identifying the needs of each neighborhood, and how and where "Find-Your-Way" modules get implemented.

For instance, we would be curious to find how residents of Lincoln Heights and Cypress Park would connect the newly proposed "Bicycle Friendly Business District" to the LA Riverfront or how bicyclist would want to find strategies to navigate to it. Would these be based thought existing bike lanes? Because of safety? Convenience?

Our planning process would also identify community resources needed to implement our project. Are there manufacturers or metal artists that could contribute material and time to build a given configuration of a "Find-Your-Way" module?

What community need is your project serving?

The specific community wayfinding needs will be identified through our community process. From a design and NELA-wide perspective, our project creates and promotes a more equitable visibility program. We believe that by creating a shared identity of the NELA Riverfront, we will highlight the challenges and obstacles that each neighborhood face as well as the many opportunities that exist throughout NELA.

If your project is realized, what does success look like?

The goal is to create an experience of the Los Angeles that is uniquely NELA, that the riverfront becomes understood not as a green open space destination, but as a diverse community composed of many parts that are unique in their own.

Success will be a NELA riverfront that is not only a destination, but also a vehicle to navigate and explore what Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, and Lincoln heights have to offer to each other, and as a whole to the City of Los Angeles.

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