Film | Planning | Design

Redemption Square

A journey into the hidden world of Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.

2018, 18 minutes
(or seven 2-5 min. episodes)

In the footsteps of many unique Angelenos, a down-on-her-luck woman finds a new identity in Pershing Square, a notoriously unloved space in downtown Los Angeles.

Redemption Square explores how the design of public space can change a person's life. Begun as my masters thesis project at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the story takes viewers into five key transformations in the history of Pershing Square—through the voices of people who spend their time there and those who fight to redesign it.

My hope is that the film can help people to rediscover the spirit of the park and imagine a more inclusive vision of public life in the city. To help make the project more interactive or accessible, please contact me.

Starring Lisa Biagiotti & Lorraine Morland
Original Music by Nick Myers & Colin Yarck
Sound Design by Colin Yarck
Graphic Design by John Cranston
Cinematography by Drew Ganyer & Garrett Lamb
Produced by Anne Whiston Spirn
An Invisible Cities Studio & MIT DUSP Production



In 1866, a pioneer settler encounters a mother and son camping in the park in front of her house, while L.A. city officials take steps to beautify the park as a new centerpiece for their expanding city.

3. Working Men

In 1908, a visitor to L.A. encounters the greatest “working man’s park” he has ever seen, while park officials streamline the park’s design to keep pace with surging business activity in downtown.

4. Unafraid

In 1944, a social misfit finds a new home amongst Pershing Square’s “ever-shifting group of people,” while a business association campaigns to transform the park into an underground parking garage.

5. Safe Haven