While Los Angeles is globally recognized for its love of the car, it is not associated with myriad of rail lines and train cars scattered throughout the city. These 19th century icons have been abandoned or built over, forming “urban scar tissue” on the city grid as urban sprawl began to take over. Positioned between downtown Los Angeles and the Los Angeles River, the Arts District showcases many of these urban scars. As the area became gentrified in the 1970s with the emergence of housing and commercial amenities infilling the industrial warehouses, the rail lines which used to exist in the area become embedded in streetscapes. Many other unused rail lines follow major streets such as Slauson Ave. and Florence Ave. through the entire city, crossing residential and commercial neighborhoods. Such cases of abandoned rail lines, strands of unused land, and obsolete train cars and flatbeds are lifelessly scattered throughout the city. June Street Architecture’s proposal for Building Trust International’s PlayScapes Competition reclaims this industrial infrastructure and converts it into the much needed park space throughout the city.
Acting as a series of modular parks, abandoned freight train containers and flatbeds have been architecturally manipulated and re-purposed to create urban public spaces. Catering to a wide demographic from children to adults, several modules were developed to fit into various areas throughout the city. For children of the city, the architects created a playground and table game cars; for the adults, they created sitting, lounging, and community garden cars. Though these are just some of the possibilities they are considering to revitalize the urban landscape which adapts to the needs and wants of the micro-communities. The ulitmate goal is to make the realization of these spaces a catalyst for massive action to innovate and reclaim all similar urban spaces.
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