Los Angeles, CA (February 20, 2019): Residents, visitors, and workers in Downtown LA’s South Park neighborhood have a new tool for exploring the district’s shops, landmarks, and green spaces. The Urban Backyard themed wayfinding project, created by the South Park Business Improvement District (SPBID), is a series of vinyl wraps covering existing utility boxes displaying directional signage, maps, points of interest, and walking distances, making it easier to get around as a pedestrian.
Urban Backyard builds off of the BID’s long-standing commitment to the safety, pedestrianization, and vibrancy of South Park by inviting residents, visitors, and workers to further explore the neighborhood. It follows the successful examples set by utility box art programs citywide, including the #lookupatbroadway boxes installed as part of the Bringing Back Broadway Initiative, and the BID’s own utility box art contest in 2015.
Council District 14 is one of the sponsors of the Urban Backyard signage project and in years past spearheaded the effort to simplify City processes to transform utility boxes into works of art and creative signage – those efforts have led to a dramatic increase in such uses throughout the City. “Beyond the functional use of the wayfinding signs, each time we transform a utility box into a piece of art, we add to the beauty of our City,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar.
South Park is welcoming thousands of new residents, new businesses, convention goers, and visitors to STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE. With 39 development projects under construction and in the pipeline, the neighborhood’s residential population of 12,000 is expected to exceed 30,000 by 2022. “The BID is committed to meeting the needs of this rapidly growing neighborhood. Lighter, faster, cheaper interventions like the utility box wayfinding project allow us to provide crucial information, beautify the neighborhood, and are easy to adapt and update as the neighborhood continues to transform,” says Ellen Riotto, Executive Director of SPBID.
Wayfinding infrastructure plays an important role in downtowns world-wide. “The Los Angeles Convention Center sees over 2.5 million visitors annually, and many of them take time to explore DTLA on foot. For pedestrians, especially visitors, clear wayfinding signage is a crucial component of a safe and welcoming city” said Doane Liu, Executive Director of the Department of Tourism and Convention Development.
Zack Clark, resident in South Park and co-owner of Bee Organic Dry Cleaners, a sponsor of this project, is excited about the new infrastructure because “small businesses like ours are really proud to be part of this community, and these utility boxes are a useful and attractive tool for people exploring the neighborhood and its businesses, including ours.”
The network of 23 utility boxes was designed in coordination with SPBID’s District Identity Committee by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, a firm whose wayfinding experience includes the Hollywood Bowl and other cultural institutions. The project was funded by these South Park businesses and organizations: Barcito, Bee Organic Dry Cleaners, California Hospital, the GRAMMY Museum, Jade Enterprises, L.A. LIVE, the Los Angeles Convention Center, Mack Real Estate, the Proper Hotel, and the YWCA Greater Los Angeles.
Graffiti coating was provided by Council District 14, and the wraps were printed in-district by CR&A Custom.
The South Park Business Improvement District (BID) is managed by the South Park Stakeholders Group, a coalition of residents, property owners, and business who are deeply committed to the ongoing improvement of the district. Since 2005, the South Park BID has worked to make South Park safer, cleaner and more vibrant for the people who live, work and visit South Park. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.southpark.la