Grand Intervention: Advice from an Urban Developer

Advice from an Urban Developer

Submitted by Abraham K. Farkas, developer of Elleven South  and the Pearl District

– The park footprint is large and lends itself to developing a series of differentiated spaces that provide distinct experiences for people. Areas for solitude, kid-friendly spaces, active areas, etc.


Kids frolic in Salmon Springs Fountain in Portland’s Waterfront Park.

– Seize opportunities to build on the history/heritage of L.A. and its evolving multicultural population by incorporating physical representations of this richness of humanity.

– Plan and program the park for evening as well as daytime uses. Take advantage of opportunities for experiments with lighting public spaces.

– Develop the park using sustainable materials for hard surfaces and as much local foliage as possible.

– Create activity around the park and enable easy access from surrounding activity centers to the park. (In addition to the civic functions already positioned around the park, add housing with ground floor active uses such as restaurants, unique retail, etc.)

– Construct parking under the park — to handle ever-growing needs, to service the surrounding area and for revenue generation to help pay for operating the park.

– Incorporate water liberally — both passive water features and active water areas where people can at least dabble a toe or two.

– Find appropriate places for sensitively designed small-scale retail or restaurant venues in the park. These can contribute to activity level, safety and ongoing financial needs of the park.

– Develop a range of seating options so that folks who want to socialize can do so, while those who choose to spend time alone or want to contemplate can also have that opportunity.

– Hire local youth to help build portions of the park — in addition to the job, it should give them and let them share pride in creating this open space.


The Pearl District’s popular Jamieson Square.