By Jared Edgar McKnight, MLA '21; John Gerard Perez, B.Arch '21; Christina Shin, B.Arch '21

The 1950s displacement and demolition of the Bunker Hill community initiated the roll-out of an “unwelcome mat” in DTLA, culminating in current streetscape conditions that cater to vehicles, while pedestrians are relegated to the tiny spaces between buildings and curb lines. These restrictive and unwelcoming conditions are supported and enforced by prohibitive codes and regulations, with disproportionate impacts on our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens.
WELCOME mat – envisions a new, collaborative model for the urban realm, redefining the transition from inside to outside and widening the threshold of interface to accommodate a more welcoming public realm system. This new model of land care and ownership extends parcel sizes for existing buildings to activate the pedestrian experience by radically expanding a system of park spaces and service-oriented programs that serve to welcome all individuals into a collective public realm.

WELCOME mat extends parcel sizes for existing buildings into the public realm, incentivizing building owners to extend meaningful programs and services for all citizens into redistributed lot sizes, enhancing the public realm with bonus incentives for opportunities created for small and minority-owned businesses and public social services focused on unhoused and other disenfranchised communities.

This re-imagination of the public realm expands opportunities for interface and interaction exponentially, through a legible and engaging delivery of programs and services that obliterates the barriers to access, and welcomes everyone into a redesigned, incentivized, and dignified public realm model – a place where everyone is welcome.